Thousands converge on W-S ready for a ‘marvastic’ experience at the NBTF

The National Black Theatre Festival’s gala event kicks off a week full of excitement.

Thousands converge on W-S ready for a ‘marvastic’ experience at the NBTF
August 04
06:59 2022

 Every two years since 1989, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NBRC) and the City of Winston-Salem roll out the red carpet and invite creatives and lovers of live theatre from across the globe to the City of Arts and Innovation, for a week long ‘marvtastic’ celebration of Black arts during the National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF). Due to the pandemic, the festival was postponed last year, but this year the festival is back! 

According to officials, the festival, which runs from Aug. 1-6, will have more than a $13 million impact on the economy of Winston-Salem. 

This year’s festival is headlined by celebrity co-chairs Lisa Arrindell and Petri Hawkins Byrd and will feature more than two dozen different productions. According to officials, more than 60,000 people are expected to attend the festival. in addition to dozens of celebrities from stage, screen and television. 

The festivities kicked off on Monday, Aug. 1, with the star-studded opening night gala. The event, which is traditionally held at Benton Convention Center, also serves as an awards ceremony where directors, playwrights, actors and others are recognized for their contributions to theatre. 

The 2022 award recipients are: Ben Vereen, Sydney Poitier Lifetime Achievement Award; Charles Dumas, Living Legend Award; Stephen McKinley Henderson, Living Legend Award; Vivian Reed, Living Legend Award; Dr. Lundeana M. Thomas, Living Legend Award; Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lloyd Richards Director Award; and Laurence Holder, August Wilson Playwright Award. The Theatre Longevity Award was presented to the Black Ensemble Theater from Chicago and The Ensemble Theatre from Houston. 

Additional award recipients are: Sarita P. Fellows, Outstanding Achievement in Costume; Lawrence E. Moten III, Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design; Alan C. Edward, Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design; Lark Hackshow, Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management; Dr. Eric J. Sadler, Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award; and Truliant Federal Credit Union, Marvtastic Philanthropy Award. 

The Mable P. Robinson Emerging Artist Award was presented to Jordan Hall, Daydra Smith, Nia McClinton, Marleena Garris, Peter Ong’olo and Gabrielle Solomon. Melda Beaty was presented the Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premier Award. Woodie King Jr, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Lillias White received Special Recognition Awards.

In addition to more than 130 theatrical productions, there are several other events going on throughout the week of the festival. There is literally something for the entire family to enjoy. There will be more than 30 staged readings, Midnight Poetry Jam sessions, Therapeutic Power of Theatre workshops, NBTF Film Fest, an International Vendors Market, a Storytellers Festival, a National Youth Talent Showcase, International Colloquium, and much more. 

For the first time the festival will also include several virtual events. 

For additional information and a schedule of events, visit or call the NBTF office at 336-723-2266, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

There is also an app, Nat’l Black Theatre Festival, available for free download for both iPhone and Android devices that has up-to-date festival information, schedules, venues, ticket information and more.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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