DETROIT: Detroit Public Theatre (DPT) and Harlem9 will collaborate on a second 48Hours in…Detroit play festival. The festival will follow the same format as the previous event from 2019. Local and native Detroit playwrights, directors, and actors will gather to tell their stories and visions for the future of the city through the lens of Afrofuturist texts taken from plays, poems, short stories, and other works. In just 48 hours, six playwrights, six directors, and 18 actors will create 10-minute plays, inspired by the works of Octavia E. Butler, Keisha Thompson, Nic Stone, Nnedi Okorafor, Sun Ra, and Rachael Young. The festival will conclude with an in-person performance of the six new plays at Marygrove Theater on March 27 at 7 p.m.
Harlem9 has produced the annual 48Hours in…Harlem play festival since 2011. In 2016, the festival expanded to include 48Hours in…El Bronx. The organization went on to premiere 48Hours in…Holy Ground (North Carolina) and the first 48hours in…Detroit festival in 2019. Harlem9 held their first ever Digital 48Hours in…Harlem in 2020, and 48Hours in…Dallas in the summer of 2021. They soon hope to expand the series to include 48Hours in…Seattle.
The festival has been funded by a 2018 Knight Arts Foundation Award, which was matched by The Downtown Detroit Partnership, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s Michigan Film and Digital Media Office (MFDMO). A second festival was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a native of this city, I was thrilled that we were finally be able to bring 48Hours in… to Detroit in 2019,” said Harlem9 founding member Garlia Cornelia Jones. “We experienced a wonderful collaboration with Detroit Public Theatre, and after the disappointing shutdowns in 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic, we are super excited to return, recover our momentum, and re-engage with Detroit audiences with a theme so relevant to the city’s culture.”
At the conclusion of the Detroit festival, the collected 12 plays from 2019 and 2022 will be published in an anthology.
Detroit Public Theatre is a seven-year-old regional theatre in Detroit’s cultural district committed to producing bold, relevant work by local and nationally acclaimed artists. Harlem9 is a collaborative producing organization comprising Black theatre professionals, dedicated to exploring the past, present, and future of Black culture and celebrating its rich, diverse history of storytelling.
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