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Annual Conference

The National Black Theatre Festival 2015 Honorees

This August, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company will host its 14th Biennial National Black Theatre Festival. This week long event is an “International Celebration and Reunion of Spirit” replete with West African drummers and dancing, an artist networking showcase, children’s programs, theatrical productions, international vendors, film screenings, and a gala award ceremony honoring artists and activists who are advancing the legacy of dynamic work.


The North Carolina Black Repertory Company was founded in 1979 and is the state’s first professional Black theatre. NCBRC also partners with many community programs to enrich the youth of Winston-Salem and many of these partnerships are part of the festival. Founder Larry Leon Hamlin intends for this event to “illuminate the powerful theatrical spirit and extraordinary talent of Black performers, designers, directors, producers, and technicians from across the country and abroad.” and it is truly shaping up to be nothing less than extraordinary.

This year’s honorees include Bill Cobbs who is receiving the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award for his work as an actor for over the past 40 years. Cobbs worked with the Negro Ensemble Company and has been in countless films and television shows including New Jack City, The Bodyguard, and Ghosts of Mississippi.

Katori Hall is the recipient of the August Wilson Playwright Award. Hall has become one the theater world’s most sought after playwrights winning the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play (The Mountaintop) and her most recent work Blood Quilt was previously featured here on Broadway Black

Among the Living Legend Award honorees this year is the iconic Grace Jones. Jones has been on the cutting edge of music, fashion, and acting for the past 4 decades. With her eclectic chart-topping albums, starring roles in films such as A View to a Kill, Boomerang, and Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior, and her unforgettable presence- the mere mention of her name evokes fearlessness and stunning beauty that transfers into her music, her work, and her life.

There are so many powerhouse talents and organizations being honored this year for the festival performer/choreographer Maurice Hines (Eubie, Sophisticated Ladies), costume designer Emilio Sosa aka ESOSA (The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Motown: The Musical) , as well as the 100 year old theatre, The Karamu House. See the entire list below.


Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award
Bill Cobbs
Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award
Nate Jacobs
Emerging Producer Award
Erich McMillan-McCall
August Wilson Playwright Award
Katori Hall
Lloyd Richards Director Award
Clinton Turner Davis
Living Legend Award
A. Peter Bailey
Maurice Hines
Robert Hooks
Grace Jones
Hattie Winston
Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Allen Lee Hughes
Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
Harlan Penn
Theatre Longevity Award
The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. – Knoxville, TN
Special Recognition Award
Karamu House (100 years old)
Cleveland, OH
Special Recognition Award
Rachel P. Jackson
Marvtastic Philanthrophy Award
The Millennium Fund
Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award
Warren Dell Leggett

The 2015 National Black Theatre Festival is August 3rd- August 8th in Winston-Salem, NC. For more information, tickets, and a complete list of the artists and organizations being honored this year, visit



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