Wake Forest University has received a grant to commission and produce two original plays to be presented during the 2024 National Black Theatre Festival.
The $250,000 grant comes from the Henry Luce Foundation. It will benefit a project called “Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America.” The effort is a collaboration between the Wake Forest School of Divinity, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, and Wake The Arts.
According to a news release, the goal is to choose works that encourage community conversations on race, justice, and religion. Playwrights are being asked to address thematic topics such as homophobia, racism, white supremacy, and social inequities.
Jackie Alexander is the artistic director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. Alexander says that while his introduction to theater came through the church, he's troubled by conflicting messages often disseminated through the institution. His hope is that this project can confront those contradictions and inspire constructive dialogue.
The plays will be presented at the 2024 National Black Theatre Festival.
The announcement comes as the community mourns the loss of the festival's executive producer Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, who died earlier this month.