The Milwaukee Black Theater Festival—a five-day celebration of Black arts and culture—will take over multiple Milwaukee venues August 10-14. When it does, it’ll come complete with two theatrical world premieres, an R&B and Gospel fundraiser concert, and much more. The theme for the third annual fest? “The Black Family: Generations Speak!”

“We’re honoring the Black Family during the third year of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival,” says co-founder Sheri Williams Pannell in a press release, “which provides an opportunity to tell stories which entertain us while sharing our history, exploring our challenges, uniting our generations, and celebrating our beauty.”

Events at this year’s festival—presented, once again, by Black Arts MKE—include:

• Two theatrical world premieres produced by Bronzeville Arts Ensemble: Milwaukee Voices of Gun Violence by Sheri Williams Pannell and Khloe’s Beautiful Blues staged reading by La’Ketta Caldwell

• Theatrical production of Hidden Heroes by Shà Cage – The Black Women of NASA produced by First Stage and directed by Samantha Montgomery

• Youth & Family Night kicks off the festival with preview performances from several collaborating BIPOC youth theater and dance organizations including First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Next Act Theatre, and Signature Dance Company

• This Just In staged reading by Malaina Moore, an emerging young MKE-based Black playwright

• Family Reunion Concert Fundraiser produced by Antoine Reynolds and featuring Milwaukee’s most talented R&B and Gospel artists and musicians

• Milwaukee Black Theater Community, Let’s Talk! Including a History of Milwaukee Black Theater, moderated panel discussion, and an Adolphus Ward Scholarship presentation produced by Lights! Camera! Soul!’s Dimonte Henning

• Healing Through the Arts Showcase performances presented by several artists and survivors as portrayed in Milwaukee Voices of Gun Violence

Participating venues include the Marcus Performing Arts Center, the St. Ann Center Indaba Community Bandshell, the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, and the Table Vocational Center.

“For the first time, the festival will be held across multiple venues, in an effort to expose more of the city to rich cross-disciplinary artistic and cultural activity produced by Milwaukee-based Black artists,” says Black Arts MKE Board Chair Cory Nettles. “We’re proud to produce Milwaukee Black Theater Festival to share more of our stories and put a spotlight on emerging young Black playwrights and professional theater organizations, including Bronzeville Arts Ensemble and Lights! Camera! Soul!”

Find more info HERE.

Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.

About The Author

Avatar photo
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.