Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Paul Robeson Theatre Festival

The Robey Theatre Company proudly presents its inaugural Paul Robeson Theatre Festival

During the McCarthy era, a selected group of people were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), where they were asked to answer whether they were a communist or not, and if so, to give the names of other communists.  Paul Robeson was one of these persons called and he refused to answer, stating as an American it was within his right not to answer such a question.  He was then asked about a recent trip he took to the Soviet Union.  He replied:

"In Russia, I felt for the first time like a full human being…no color prejudice like in Mississippi, no color prejudice like in Washington.''
1956 Paul Robeson before the HUAC

When the committee asked if he liked Russia so much, why didn’t he stay there, he answered:

"Because my father was a slave and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part in it just like you.  And no fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?''

This fearless social consciousness and command Paul Robeson had is what inspired the Robey Theatre Company to launch its first Paul Robeson Theatre Festival, to be held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center July 18-19, 2014

The Robey put out a "call for submissions" in February 2014 for playwrights to submit their original play or a scene from a body of work (no more than 20 pages long), that addressed and/or reflected Paul Robeson’s principles concerning social consciousness.  The plays submitted did not have to be about Mr. Robeson per se, only to have been inspired by his values.

The following is a list of  the writers, the title of their play, and the directors who were selected for the 2014 Paul Robeson Theatre Festival:

  • Dr. Alicia Tycer - H.U.A.C., directed by Dylan Southard.
  • Cornell Hubert Calhoun, III - Miss Pauline, directed by Dwain A. Perry.
  • Dominique Miller - Say Something, directed by Tommy Hicks.
  • George Corbin - Plantin, directed by Robert Clemons.
  • Inda Craig-Galván - Rules of the Debate, directed by Adleane Hunter.
  • Julie Taiwo Oni - ETHIOP-ICA, directed by Adleane Hunter.
  • Kellie Dantzler - The Rhythm Keepers, directed by Adleane Hunter.
  • Kurt Maxey - The Agreement, directed by Dylan Southard.
  • La' Chris Jordan - Deep Rivers, directed by Dwain A. Perry.
  • Levy Lee - I SHOT the SHERIFF, directed by Ben Guillory.
  • Mohammed Ali Ojarigi - Greenwood 1964, directed by Mohammed Ali Ojarigi.
  • Nui Brown - Eslanda Unplugged, directed by Robert Clemons.
  • Paula Neiman - We Wear the Mask, directed by Ben Guillory.
  • Ryan Anderson - out:side, directed by Ryan Anderson.
  • Sophia Washam - La Loteria, directed by Josiah Davis.

For further information on the writers who were selected for this year's festival, please click the following link: 
The Paul Robeson Theatre Festival will be performed July 18th - July 19th 
The Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Schedule of events

  • Friday, July 18, 2014 at 7pm - the reading of Paul Robeson in Berlin, written by Robert Coles and Bartley McSwine, with reception to follow.
  • Saturday, July 19, 2014 beginning at 1pm - The presentation of the 15 One-Act Plays.

For tickets and pricing information:
Friday, July 18 – $25
Saturday, July 19 – $35
Festival Pass (Friday and Saturday) – $50
Online at: 
Or, call (866) 811-4111.

Writing content contributor: Kellie Dantzler