True Colors Theatre Company and The Hansberry Project announce the pilot year of The Drinking Gourd: Black Writers at Work, a new play program that will create a network of Black theatres linked in the shared goal to co-commission, co-develop, and co-premiere the work of Black artists across the country. Jamil Jude, Artistic Director at True Colors, conceived of the idea in response to the dearth of Black work being produced on the American Theatre stage. This partnership with the Seattle-based Hansberry Project is the first step in engaging Black theatre companies from across North America to address this gap.
Hansberry Project Director Valerie Curtis Newton, who provided the name for this program, describes it as a way to “create a space where the entire community can be enriched by the voices of professional Black artists, reflecting autonomous concerns, investigations, dreams, and artistic expression.” Jude concurs, “True Colors’ mission challenges us to connect our audience with leading and emerging voices in American theatre today who are illuminating the experiences of Black people and telling bold stories that grow from the African diaspora. The Drinking Gourd allows True Colors to search out and support Black voices through a national network that will uplift more Black voices and nurture their stories within Black theatres.”