The National Black Theatre Festival is returning to Winston-Salem this summer after a pandemic hiatus. 

It has been an unusually long break since the last festival in 2019. During that time organizers lost their longtime leader, Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, who died in January. She had been the festival's executive producer for more than a decade following the death of her husband, Larry Leon Hamlin, the event's founder.

Nigel Alston is executive director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. He says the festival will continue to build on the couple's legacy.

“We have a rich history. It's been going for quite some period of time,” he says. “We have good people, capable people that are in place.  So it's a change and a transition but the trend is continue to go in the trajectory that we've been going.”

Alston says the pandemic delay has led to a change in scheduling for the festival. It had been held on odd-numbered years. He says one year is not enough time to plan for the event. So the next one will be scheduled for 2024, and they'll be held in even-numbered years for the foreseeable future.

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