progress theater’s
the burnin’

MARCH 12-14, 2015
Contemporary Arts Center  | 900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Written and directed by Cristal Chanelle Truscott, The Burnin’ is an Acapella NeoSpiritual inspired by two major U.S. nightclub tragedies; the Rhythm Night Club Fire of Natchez, MS (1940) and the E2 Club Stampede of Chicago, IL (2003).

It's 1940 in the fictional City of Antebellum. As the African American community prepares for the return of hometown hero Band Man to the local juke, the White community organizes its Annual Pilgrimage Pageant; a celebration of Southern hierarchy as it was "Before the War." Fast forward 75 years and post-Great Migration urban residents of Sittay gather to critique the policies and politics behind contemporary headlines at a hip hop spot. When disaster strikes in both spaces and places, all involved are forced to examine the meanings and intersections of race, gender, community, agency, identity and freedom.

Through fictionalized locales, The Burnin’ charts sociopolitical consistencies before, during and after both disasters. Intertwining dialogue and original song, the piece not only questions a multitude of stereotypes, it actively answers and dis-assembles them. Re-imagining and re-examining these American tragedies, The Burnin’ invites audiences to look deeper into personal and communal definitions of freedom, empowerment and the course of “progress” we all have the power to chart.


urban bush women & voices from the bush

JULY 25, 2015
Contemporary Arts center | 900 Camp st., New Orleans, LA 70130

Urban Bush Women and Junebug Productions with support from the Contemporary Arts Center's Performance Support Program presents Urban Bush Women and Voices from the Bush with Special Guests Sunni Patterson, Craig Harris, and Rhodessa Jones.

Urban Bush Women and Voices from the Bush is a multi-disciplinary performance inspired by Urban Bush Women’s 30th Anniversary program that highlights the company’s 30-year repertory featuring excerpts from  Women’s Resistance, Shelter, and more. The performance kicks off Urban Bush Women’s annual Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), a 10-day gathering of artists and activists who will dance, sweat, think, build, and devise innovative responses to the question being asked all across this country—How do we institutionalize the notion that Black Lives Matter? 

This year’s SLI theme, "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest: Organizing for Racial Equity," is inspired by the great Civil Rights organizer Ella Jo Baker and Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

The performance has been curated around this year’s theme and also features performances by Sunni Patterson, Rhodessa Jones, Craig Harris, Maritza Mercado-Narcisse, Shamar Watt, Vincent Thomas, Maria Bauman, Marguerite Hemmings and a short film directed by Jason Foster featuring A Scribe Called Quess?.