From coast to coast, the work of African American and Black theatres continues to lift up the work of artists of color. This list represents our best effort to give a comprehensive picture of the breadth of the national scene. Sources for this list include HowlRound’s roster and the TCG theatre membership list.
African-American Shakespeare Company
San Francisco, est. 1994
Founder and executive director: Sherri Young
Artistic director: L. Peter Callendar
Aims to expose diverse audiences to classic theatre and supply actors of color with the opportunity to hone their skills.
African American Performing Arts Community Theatre
Miami, est. 2001
Works to provide the underserved population of Miami-Dade County’s Liberty City with thought-provoking productions and theatrical opportunities.
African American Repertory Theater
Dallas, est. 2007 by Irma P. Hall, Vince McGill, and Regina Washington
Artistic director: Irma P. Hall
The theatre’s goals are to create opportunities for African American artists, to produce cross cultural theatrical works, and educate the community on African American history and art.
AfroSolo Theatre Company
San Francisco, est. 1993
Founder and artistic director: Thomas Robert Simpson
Aims to nurture and promote African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and community engagement.
Amun Ra Theatre
Nashville, est. 2001
Founder and artistic director: Jeff Obafemi Carr
The theatre’s mission is to expose the “hidden light” of African American culture through drama, music, dance, and the spoken word.
Anthony Bean Community Theater
New Orleans, est. 2000
Founder and artistic director: Anthony Bean
Works to provide educational and training opportunities through programs such as acting classes, youth theatre, and a summer day camp.
Arena Players Inc
Baltimore, est. 1953 by Jimmie Bell, Bernard Byrd, Doris Dilver, Aurthur Thurogood, Irvin Turner, Joe Wilson, Julius Wilson, and Sam Wilson
Managing director: David D. Mitchell
Artistic director: Donald R. Owens
The organization’s mission is to entertain, educate, and serve the Baltimore community. They aim to nurture and give growth to new, emerging, and established artists through cross-cultural endeavors, while boldly illuminating the African-American experience through the performing arts.
Baltimore/Washington, D.C., est. 2003
Artistic director: Kevin McAllister
Co-founder, director of operations: Cedric D. Lyles
A color-conscious organization committed to reexamining traditional roles in the arts, advancing original stories of specific cultures, and fostering educational advancement to strengthen the community through the power of theatre. They produce 4-5 musicals and plays annually.
Asante Children’s Theatre
Indianapolis, est. 1990
Founder and artistic director: Deborah Asante
The theatre’s mission is to provide a space for at-risk youth to develop strong work ethics and an appreciation for the arts. They also aim to preserve the traditions of African and African-American performing arts.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
New Orleans, est. 1998 by Douglas Reed and Carol Bebelle
Executive director: Carol Bebelle
Artistic director: Frederick “Hollywood” Delahoussaye
Strives to promote individual, community, and economic development through the arts with an emphasis on artists of African descent.
August Wilson Cultural Center
Pittsburgh, est. 2006
President and CEO: Janis Burley Wilson
Dedicated to owning and operating a home for the arts, storytelling, learning and exchange around the African American experience and the rich culture of the African diaspora.
The Billie Holiday Theatre
New York City, est. 1967 by Franklin A. Thomas
Executive director: Indira Etwaroo
Originally established as part of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the theatre focuses on discovering new voices from the African Diaspora.
Bill Nunn Theatre Outreach Project
Pittsburgh, est. 2008 by Bill Nunn
Founded by the actor, the organization’s mission is to create a platform for underserved public school students in the region to gain access to theatre arts and work with seasoned professionals within the field.
Black Academy of Arts and Letters
Dallas, est. 1969
Founder and president: Curtis King
The multi-disciplinary organization aims to enhance understanding of aesthetic and cultural differences through the lens of African, African American, and Caribbean arts.
Black Ensemble Theater
Chicago, est. 1976
Founder and CEO: Jackie Taylor
The theatre’s goal is to eradicate racism through the utilization of theatrical programming and educational outreach.
Black Repertory Group
Berkeley, Calif., est. 1964
The company’s mission is to highlight the works of African American playwrights, provide an opportunity in the arts for individuals wanting to contribute to their community in a positive way, and revitalize the Berkeley community.
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
New York City, est. 1970
Founder, executive producer, and CEO: Carl Clay
Aims to stimulate cultural consciousness through message-driven theatre with a specific focus on African American issues.
Black Theatre Troupe, Inc.
Phoenix, est. 1970 by Helen Katherine Mason
Executive director: David J. Hemphill
Endeavors to provide theatrical opportunities to underserved artists and enhance audiences’ cultural awareness through productions illuminating the African American experience.
Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY
Capital Region, N.Y., est. 2009
Founder and artistic director: Jean-Remy Monnay
Promotes performance and theatrical pieces by, and about, artists of color.
Black Women Playwrights’ Group
Washington, D.C., est. 1989
Founder and president: Karen L.B. Evans
Strives to serve African American playwrights by supporting the writing process and providing information on workshops, readings, and other production opportunities.
New York City, est. 2008
Founder and artistic director: Garlia Cornelia Jones-Ly
A resident salon at the Cell Theatre, the company aims to provide a space for Black playwrights to develop their work.
Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts
Philadelphia, est. 1977
Founder and artistic director: Al Simpkins
Executive director: Verlina Dawson
Bushfire Theatre strives to present the works of African American playwrights using a resident ensemble of actors.
A Call to Conscience
St. Louis, est. 2012
Artistic director: Fannie Belle Lebby
The theatre collective’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for activism by producing events featuring speeches, essays, and adaptations.
The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc.
Knoxville, Tenn., est. 1969
Endeavors to produce new works that give artistic voice to people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, and other oppressions.
Cincinnati Black Theatre Company
Cincinnati, est. 2001
Executive director and president: Don Sherman
Cincinnati Black Theatre Company aims to use Black theatre to promote literacy, diversity, and multiculturalism.
Classical Theatre of Harlem
New York City, est. 1999
Producing artistic director: Ty Jones
Aims to present works from a wide range of playwrights to reflect America’s racial diversity while providing opportunities for diverse theatre artists.
Common Ground Theatre
San Diego, Calif., est. 1963
Artistic director: Charles W. Patmon Jr.
The theatre’s mission is to present works by and about people of African descent to entertain and educate audiences of all backgrounds.
Congo Square Theatre
Chicago, est. 1999 by Derrick Sanders and Reginald Nelson
Strives to educate and inspire audiences by producing transformative theatre spawned from the African Diaspora.
Crossroads Theatre Company
New Brunswick, N.J., est. 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson
Producing artistic director: Marshall Jones III
Celebrates the cultures and voices of the entire African Diaspora through theatre.
San Francisco, est. 1979
Co-artistic directors: Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones
Endeavors to support the works of emerging artists by conducting residencies and tours, providing technical assistance to artists and small organizations, and operating the Medea Project, a program serving female inmates, exinmates, HIV positive women, and female community participants.
Ebony Repertory Theatre
Los Angeles, est. 2007
Founder and producer: Wren T. Brown
Artistic director: Israel Hicks
The theatre’s mission is to creative innovative theatre shaped through a perspective of understanding and respecting African American experiences.
The Ensemble Theatre Houston
Houston, est. 1976 by George Hawkins
Artistic director: Eileen J. Morris
Aims to portray the African American experience and enrich a diverse community.
The Essential Theatre
Washington, D.C., est. 1989
Founder and artistic director: S. Robert Morgan
The theatre is dedicated to present theatre that reflects the African American experience, with additional goals of providing educational opportunities for D.C.’s youth.
Eta Creative Arts Foundation, Inc.
Chicago, est. 1971
The company’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate the African American aesthetic citywide, statewide, and nationwide by providing performance and training opportunities for artists and exposing general audiences to authentic representations of African American lifestyles and aspirations.
The Fire This Time Festival
New York City, est. 2009
Founder and executive director: Kelley Nicole Girod
In collaboration with Horse Trade Theater Group, the festival strives to provide a platform for emerging playwrights of African or African American descent.
The Front Porch Arts Collective
Boston, est. 2017
Artistic director: Dawn Meredith Simmons
Executive director: Maurice Emmanuel Parent
The organization is committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theatre.
The Hansberry Project
Seattle, est. 2004
The theatre company aims to explore artistic interpretations of African American life, history, and culture.
New York City, est. 2010
Producers: Spencer Scott Barros, Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, Bryan E. Glover, Garlia Cornelia Jones-Ly, Eric Lockley, and Jonathan McCrory
A collaborative producing organization, it endeavors to explore and celebrate Black culture and storytelling.
Harlem Repertory Theatre
New York City, est. 2004
Founder and artistic director: Keith Lee Grant
The theatre’s goal is to present both new works and established classics in productions that explore themes of race, class, and politics.
New York City, est. 1979
Executive director: Patricia Cruz
Strives to celebrate Harlem’s cultural legacy and its effect on American culture by providing opportunities and support to artists of color and introducing children to performing arts.
Memphis, Tenn., est. 2006
Founder and chief executive officer: Ekundayo Bandele
Aims to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the performing arts by producing works by Black playwrights and featuring Black performers in non-Black works.
Images Theatre Company
Sacramento, Calif., est. 2003
Founder and artistic director: Lisa Tarrer-Lacy
Endeavors to stage productions that are culturally, socially, and educationally relevant and will engage and enable both artists and audiences.
White River Junction, Vt., est. 2016
Founder and producing artistic director: Jarvis Green
Strives to produce classic and contemporary African American theatre, incubate new works, and generate compassion and community through the framework of the African American experience.
JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre
Founder and producing artistic director: Joel P.E. King
The theatre works to provide entertaining productions and training workshops for artists of all ages.
Fort Worth, Texas, est. 1981 by Rudy and Marian Eastman
Artistic director: D. Wambui Richardson
The company’s mission is to produce theatrical works that give voice to African American experiences.
New Orleans, est. 1980 by John O’Neal
Executive artistic director: Stephanie McKee
Aims to use theatre as a medium for questioning and confronting the inequitable conditions historically faced by African Americans.
Cleveland, est. 1915 by Russell Jelliffe and Rowena Woodham
President and CEO: Tony F. Sias
Provides theatrical programming to honor the African American experience and embodies its core values of inclusion, collaboration, and integrity.
KC Melting Pot
Kansas City, Mo.
Founder and executive director: Harvey Williams
Artistic director: Nicole Hodges Persley
The theatre’s mission is to create a public sphere where the theatrical contributions of emerging and established African American playwrights can be shared in an enriching community environment.
Kelly Strayhorn Theatre
Pittsburgh, est. 2001 (in site of historic Regent Theatre)
Executive director: janera solomon
The theatre’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for creative expression that brings diverse communities together, focusing on the performing and media arts.
Kennie Playhouse Theatre
Artistic director: Kenny Dozier
Kennie Playhouse Theatre’s mission is to provide African American actors with the opportunity to perform in front of diverse audiences.
Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company
Atlanta, est. 2002 by Kenny Leon and Jane Bishop
Artistic director: Kenny Leon (Jamil Jude succeeds him in the fall)
Managing director: Chandra Stephens-Albright
Celebrates the tradition of Black storytelling and participate in discussions of diversity.
The King Arts Complex
Columbus, Ohio, est. 1987
Executive director: Demetries J. Neely
Performing arts director: Jevon Collins
The organization’s primary goal is to connect community to the arts by engaging the central Ohio area with artistic programs that acknowledge the vast and significant contributions of African Americans to American culture.
Liberation Theatre Company
New York City
Founder and producing artistic director: Sandra A. Daley-Sharif
Aims to provide resources and a supportive environment for emerging Black playwrights to develop their work.
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
San Francisco, est. 1981 by Stanley E. Williams and Quentin Easter
Interim artistic director: Aldo Billingslea
Interim executive director: Stephanie Shoffner
Primarily strives to present theatrical works by, for, and about African Americans and other people of color with a specific focus on female playwrights.
The M Ensemble
Miami, est. 1971 by TG Cooper, Pat Williams, and Shirley Richardson
Aims to use theatre as a tool for preserving and promoting African American culture.
The Mahogany Project
Seattle, est. 2006
Co-producing directors: Robin Dawn and Merri Ann Osborne
Founded with the goal of creating more opportunities in the performing arts for African American women, the Mahogany Project endeavors to collaborate with artists on various theatrical projects.
Ma’ Sue Productions
Akron, Ohio, est. 2011
Strives to use theatre as a tool with which to examine contemporary life as a descendent of the African Diaspora.
The Movement Theatre Company
New York City, est. 2007
Producing Artistic Leadership Team: David Mendizábal, Deadria Harrington, eric Lockley, and Taylor Reynolds
The theatre’s main goal is to present honest and complex new works by playwrights of color.
Executive producer: Shepsu Aakhu
With a focus on new, collaborative works, the company strives to develop and sustain Afrikan centered theatre.
National Black Theatre
New York City, est. 1968 by Barbara Ann Teer
CEO: Sade Lythcott
Director of theatre arts: Jonathan McCrory
Aims to educate and enrich audiences and enhance African American cultural identity by telling stories of the Black experience.
The Negro Ensemble Company
New York City, est. 1965 by Douglas Turner Ward, Robert Hooks, and Gerald Krone
Artistic director: Charles Weldon
Executive director: Karen Brown
Aims to provide an opportunity for African American, African, and Carribbean artists to work and grow in the performing arts.
New African Grove Theatre Company
Named after the first African American theatre company in the U.S., New African Grove Theatre Company strives to raise awareness of the contribution of African Americans to theatre arts.
The New Black Fest
New York City, est. 2011
Artistic director: Keith Josef Adkins
The festival’s intent is to showcase diverse and provocative plays by Black artists from throughout the Diaspora.
New Federal Theatre
New York City, est. 1970
Founder and producing director: Woodie King Jr.
Committed to integrating minority artists into mainstream American theatre by producing works by minority playwrights and providing professional training.
New Heritage Theatre Group
New York City, est. 1964 by Roger Furman
Executive producer: Voza Rivers
Executive artistic producer: Jamal Joseph
Strives to preserve and sustain classic works of Black theatre through various divisions such as Furman Theatre Rep and IMPACT Repertory Theatre.
New Horizon Theater
Pittsburgh, est. 1992 by Elva Branson
Board chairperson: Joyce Meggerson-Moore, Ph.D.
Founded with the mission to bring to the greater Pittsburgh area consistent, high-quality cultural events reflecting African-American points of view, and to provide an ongoing venue for ethnic writers and performers to further their professional development.
The New McCree Theatre
Flint, Mich., est. 2004
Executive director: Charles H. Winfrey
Has as its mission to tell the African American story and promote the African American voice.
New Venture Theatre
Baton Rouge, La., est. 1997
Artistic director: Greg Williams Jr.
Aims to produce theatre that explored the human condition through the lens of the African American experience.
North Carolina Black Repertory Company
Winston Salem, N.C., est. 1979 by Larry Leon Hamlin
Committed to exposing diverse audiences to Black classics, the development and production of new works, improving artistic quality, and sustaining Black theatre internationally. NCBRC hosts the National Black Theatre Festival.
New York City, est. 1973
Artistic director: Gregory Sheppard
An African American opera company, Opera Ebony endeavors to provide artists with a professional platform with which to develop their craft.
Portland, Ore., est. 1982
Artistic director: Jerry Foster
PassinArt is an African American producing theatre company whose mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire artists and audiences while addressing critical issues facing the community.
Penumbra Theatre Company
St. Paul, Minn., est. 1976
Founder and artistic director emeritus: Lou Bellamy
Artistic director: Sarah Bellamy
Strives to increase awareness of the contributions of African Americans to theatre, in addition to promoting cultural inclusion by using theatre as a tool to teach, comment, and criticize.
Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company
Pittsburgh, est. 2003 by Mark Clayton Southers
Committed to developing and showcasing the works of local playwrights, from accomplished masters like August Wilson and George S. Kaufman to promising new talents.
Plowshares Theatre Company
Detroit, est. 1989 by Gary Anderson and Michael Garza
The theatre’s mission is to present stories told through the lens of the African American experience that celebrate an affirmation and inspiration of a shared humanity.
Pyramid Theatre Company
Des Moines, Iowa, est. 2015
Executive director: Ken-Matt Martin
Artistic director: Tiffany Johnson
Committed to bringing the arts to the Des Moines community with an emphasis on presenting theatrical works by Black artists and providing artistic support to emerging Black voices.
Robey Theatre Company
Los Angeles, est. 1994 by Danny Glover and Bennet Guillory
Producing artistic director: Bennet Guillory
Aims to provide an encouraging environment in which to develop and produce theatrical works about the global Black experience.
Shades of Truth Theatre Company
New York City
Artistic director: Michael Green
Strives to promote the works of playwrights with uncompromising voices that entertain and educate a variety of audiences.
New York City, est. 1988
Executive director: Shay Wafer
Has a mission to deepen the appreciation of performing arts of the African Diaspora by presenting theatrical events across Brooklyn and providing opportunities to performing artists of African descent.
The Source Theatre Company
Denver, est. 2011 by Hugo Jon Sayles, Jimmy Walker, Arnold King, Kiana Coney, and Anastazia Coney
The company’s mission is to use theatre of cultural and historical significance to African American tradition to engage the younger generations in cultural and historical training.
Stage Aurora Theatrical Company
New York City and Jacksonville, Fla., est. 2000
Founder and executive artistic director: Darryl Reuben Hall
Works to enlighten audiences of African American experiences through theatre.
St. Louis Black Repertory Co.
St. Louis, est. 1976
Founder and producing director: Ron Himes
Endeavors to enrich the community by producing theatre by primarily African American playwrights.
Take Wing and Soar Productions
New York City, est. 1999
Founder and producing artistic director: Debra Ann Byrd
The production company behind the Harlem Shakespeare Festival endeavors to present theatre highlighting classically trained actors of color.
Towne Street Theatre
Los Angeles, est. 1993
Executive producer and artistic director: Nancy Cheryll Davis-Bellamy
Aims to create, develop, and produce original work that illuminates the African American experience.
Tuskegee Repertory Theatre
Tuskegee, Ala., est. 1991
Founder and artistic director: Dyann Robinson
Strives to produce theatre that reflects the cultural legacy of African Americans from the state of Alabama and enriches and revitalizes the local community.
Unity Theatre Ensemble
St. Louis, est. 1971
Founder and executive/artistic director: Ralph E. Greene
Endeavors to support the growth of African American performing artists and technicians through the production of theatrical works the express the Black experience.
UpStage Theatre Company
Baton Rouge, La.
Board president: Ava Brewster-Turner
The theatre’s mission is to nurture and expand the talents of African American artists.
Voices in the Dark
New Orleans, est. 1992
Founder and board president: Tommye Myrick
Established as first all-female all-African American theatre company in the U.S., it has since begun to include men as well.
Watts Village Theatre Company
Los Angeles, est. 1996 by Quentin Drew and Lynn Manning
Artistic director: Bruce A Lemon Jr
Strives to produce theatrical works and educational programming that promote action and dialogue about relevant social issues.
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Sarasota, Fla., est. 1999
Founder and artistic director: Nate Jacobs
Strives to produce plays that celebrate the African American experience, to support African American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African American youth.
Youth Ensemble of Atlanta
Atlanta, est. 1990 by Freddie Hendricks
Youth Ensemble of Atlanta’s primary goal is to help youth develop skills such as self-esteem through the performing arts.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. This Giving Season, please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!