National Black Theatre Festival® Returns for Another Marvtastic Festival

July 31 – August 5, 2017

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

One of the most anticipated events held in Winston-Salem is returning July 31 – August 5. The National Black Theatre Festival will again bring some of the best national and international black theatre companies to Winston-Salem for seven days of performances that will rival those seen on Broadway.

This year over 140 performances will be held at venues around Winston-Salem and several of these productions will be especially suited to seniors. We’ve highlighted just a few below, but for the complete schedule, visit Most performances are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $27 to $50.

In “Fully Aware & Facing Seventy: Heaven Betta Bea Honky Tonk,” Rhodessa Jones addresses the issue of growing old with dignity with her own brand of humor, insight and empathy.

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe returns to the NBTF with “How I Got Over: A Gospel Musical” in celebration of Mahalia Jackson and other gospel greats in this high-energy show.

Written and directed by local playwright Nathan Ross Freeman, “Little Girl Blue” tells the story of Eunice Waymon, later known as Nina Simone, and how she reinvented herself to become a jazz legend.

Our own North Carolina Black Repertory Company will present “Maid’s Door,” a touching story of a family pushed to the breaking point as they come to terms with their mother’s Alzheimer’s and the ghosts of the past that are robbing her of the present.

The Black Ensemble Theatre of Chicago present “Men of Soul,” a fascinating journey featuring the music made famous by some of the greatest soul singers of all time.

David Hayes takes you on a musical journey of the life of Sammy Davis, Jr, singing, tap dancing, impressions, comedy and playing multiple instruments in Sammy: Celebrating the Legacy.”

“Sugar Ray” is an award-winning play that recaptures the life and legacy of boxing icon Sugar Ray Robinson.

The Pointe! Studio of Dance from Greensboro returns to the Festival with “The Fantasy and Adventure of Oz: A Dance Adaptation of ‘The Wiz.’” Bring the grandkids and enjoy the amazing talent of these young performers.

For history and political buffs, “We Love You Shirley Chisholm” is the story of who and what inspired Shirley Chisholm, the first black female elected to Congress and the only black female to actively campaign for President of the U.S.

With so many wonderful shows to choose from, it will be hard to decide which ones to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office in the basement of the Arts Council Theatre on Coliseum Drive.

We’re saving a seat just for you!


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