Roundabout Theatre Company announce ‘The Refocus Project’ to restore Black plays

Black Theatre United will work in conjunction with the organization.

Photo credits: Creatives involved in The Refocus Project (Photos courtesy of Polk and Co)

Roundabout Theatre Company will work with Black Theatre United on a new initiative, restoring once marginalized plays into the history of American theater. Titled The Refocus Project, the multi-year program will raise the platform of underrepresented communities, through readings and upcoming revivals, beginning on April 23.

Artistic director and CEO of Roundabout Theatre Company Todd Haimes said: “As our theatre begins this long overdue work, I’m grateful for the talented group of artists who have gathered to create Refocus… We look forward to doing our part to realign ourselves with the great works of these American artists.”

As part of The Refocus Project, a resource library will be created, allowing creatives and members of the public to learn more about marginalized works and voices. There’ll also be a weekly online play reading series, celebrating the information and plays mentioned in the library.

Plays which will be read include:

Rachel: Angelina Weld Grimké’s 1916 plays follows Rachel Loving, living in early 20th century America. When she learns of her family history, Rachel must consider what it really means to raise a Black child in the United States. When first produced, Rachel was the first play professionally produced by a Black woman. Miranda Haymon will direct Rachel, available on April 23.

Home: Cephus Miles thinks about God’s existence in society, who recently moved to North Carolina. Samm-Art Williams’ Tony Award-nominated play will be directed by Kenny Leon, available on April 30.

I Gotta Home: Ahead of Thoughts of a Colored Man transferring to the Golden Theatre, Steve H Broadnax III directs Shirley Graham Du Bois’ 1930s play. The family drama sees Reverend Cobb discover a famous heir in their large family, and will be revived on May 7.

Spunk: Lili-Anne Brown directs Zora Neale Hurston’s 1935 play, which sees the title character become the talk of the town. Moving to rural Florida wasn’t easy, but a love affair changes everything. Spunk is available on May 14.

Wine In The Wilderness: Alice Childress’ 1969 play tells of Bill Jameson, an artist who undergoes a personal journey while creating his newest painting. Dominique Rider directs, and is available on May 21.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2021-22 Broadway season will also include Trouble In Mind by Alice Childress, playing at the American Airlines Theatre.

More information on The Refocus Project can be found here

Photo credits: Creatives involved in The Refocus Project (Photos courtesy of Polk and Co)