UPDATE: [African-American] Indiana University Black Lab and Mini-Conference on Black Theatre

full name / name of organization: 
Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
contact email: 


announces the creation of the
July 18th â€" Aug 3rd, 2008
*mini-conference on Black Theatre*
Aug 1 â€" 3rd, 2008
Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

>From ancient times to the present, dramatic literature has been fundamental to the
understanding of history and culture. Our perception of Greek, European, African and American
civilization (new and old) has been shaped, in a large part, by readings of the dramatic literature
of those cultures. African American dramatic literature has been an important part of the study
into the experiences of cultural, psychological and physical circumstances of African Americans
and those who have been part of this experience. The first dramatic literatures, the plays of
Williams Wells Brown, for instance, have greatly contributed to our understanding of the physical
and psychological circumstances of the first Africans in America, both free and enslaved. Our
current understanding of our culture and society in the U.S. is deepened by readings of popular
culture, including live theatre and its dramatic literature. However, in the past ten years, less
than 20 new African American plays have received significant professional productions on the
regional stage. More than half of those that have been produced can be attributed to one writer
(August Wilson). There are huge silences in the scholarship of American theatre when it comes to
identifying the contributions of African American dramatic literature and performance.

Despite all of this, African American writers playwrights have continued to dedicate themselves
to live, non-profit theatre turning out a prolific body of work that is in danger of being lost
forever to future readers, scholars and players. The unaddressed works of African American
dramatic literature represents a silence - an absence of black opinion on the most crucial issues
of the times. If these works remain unattended, a wealth of insight into the 20th and 21st
century Black existence will be lost to future generations and another great silence surrounding
Black Americans will have been created.

Call of Papers and Participation in the mini-conference August 1-3rd, 2008
Indiana University, Bloomington

The mini-conference seeks to stimulate scholarship and discussion surrounding Black theatre â€"
its relevance, creation and practice. We seek to create definitions of Black theatre, both
continental and abroad, and interrogate it within the context of the Black community, the nation
and in relationship to other popular culture as well as identity and honor Black theatre artists,
past and present. The conference is organized around a two-week play development workshop
with playwrights Robert Alexander and Niyi Coker, Jr., who will be developing new plays that will
be presented at the conference with professional directors, dramaturg and actors. Papers,
workshops, panel discussions and reports are invited on any aspect of Black theatre and

We are seeking participation from scholars, playwrights, directors and other practitioners of Black
theatre and performance. Please send abstracts and proposals of 250 words or less (Word or rtf
format), along with a current CV via email to conference organizer, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe by
midnight EDT, June 1, 2008.
E-mail: ecoopera_at_indiana.edu.
(Pay particular attention to the ‘a’ at the end ‘cooper’ of the email-address!)

Created through a generous gift from the Lilly Endowment Inc., New Frontiers in the Arts and
Humanities Program help faculty at Indiana University to expand their work into disciplinary or
interdisciplinary frontiers that promise new insights into the human condition or pursue
innovative directions in artistic creativity. Administrative and financial oversight is provided by
the Office of the Vice Provost for Research

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Received on Fri May 16 2008 - 12:51:04 EDT