The National Black Theater Festival, started on August 14, 1989, was founded by Larry Leon Hamlin, founder of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. It is the first professional Black theater company in North Carolina. His goal was to unite Black theater companies in America to ensure the survival of the genre into the next millennium. The show happens every two years and highlight the best in Black Theater.
The first show in 1989 attracted 10,000 people, and Maya Angelou was present to serve as the festival’s first chairperson. Since then, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company produces Black Theatre classics, at least one world premiere each season, and features up and coming African American writers. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity have become two of the Company’s main attractions.
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