The Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro is a new month-long theater celebration that's bringing seven area schools together.

The festival is being presented by the Greater Greensboro Theater Consortium, a new group spearheaded by Bennett College. Other area schools involved include Elon, High Point and North Carolina A&T State universities, Greensboro and Guilford colleges, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Bennett is hosting the first show, Mend A City: The Movement. It's a poetry, dance, and music performance that ​​chronicles the African American experience while confronting white supremacy and racism.

August Wilson's play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will close the festival at NC A&T. Director Miller Lucky, Jr. is associate professor of theatre there. He says a great way to foster understanding is to investigate other cultures. 

“Because once you experience some of the happenings in the African American community, it eliminates some of that fear, and that mystery,” he says. “Because then you hear the stories from our narrative, not a politician's narrative."

The festival — originally called Black Lives Matter Theater Festival — was awarded a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a first for Bennett. Lucky says the name change occurred after deep reflection on the politicization of the phrase Black Lives Matter.

The Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro will feature four plays from April 8 – May 1.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a list of all seven schools participating in the Greater Greensboro Theater Consortium.

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