Put These National Black Theater Seasons on Your “Must-See List” For the Upcoming Year

The end of summer is the perfect time to start planning your theater season calendar for the upcoming year. The options feel endless, with Black theater companies across the nation producing a full roster of programming that shouldn’t be missed. Many offer memberships that provide ticket discounts and other perks for the season. Check out the listings below to see what’s playing near your city, and make a plan to travel this fall to add a little theater to your life! 

MKE Black Theatre Festival—Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Expanding this year’s lineup from one week to a three-week-long celebration of Black arts and culture, MKE Black Theatre Festival is presenting two full-length plays: Mud Row, directed by Marti Gobel, and The Meeting, directed by Denzel Taylor, along with workshops, poetry sets and more. Events are taking place at various venues throughout Milwaukee including Marquette University, The Table at Alice’s Garden, Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Museum and Studio 4A at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts through August 27.

National Black Theatre—New York, New York

Founded in 1968 by champion of the Black Arts Movement Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, the National Black Theatre (NBT) is one of the oldest theaters founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation. Its 56th season kicks off with the Second Annual Learn To Love Yourself: Silent Disco & Portrait Series featuring photographer portraits, beginning August 19. The organization will also mount the World Premiere of playwright, director and choreographer nicHi Douglas’ pray from September 23 to October 28, 2023.

The Black Theatre Troupe—Phoenix, Arizona

The Black Theatre Troupe has provided performance opportunities for multiethnic and underserved artists since 1970. The organization will commence its 2023-24 season with a production of Steal Away starting September 15. Other productions on the season’s roster include Black Nativity, The Piano Lesson and Storyville.

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company—Atlanta, Georgia

True Colors Theatre Company is wrapping up its 20th celebratory season celebration with a production of That Serious He-Man Ball starting September 19. Written by Alonzo D. Lamont, Jr. and directed by Eric Little, it’s the story of three friends who grew up on the court and still convene there as adults to talk trash and attempt to exorcize the demons that pursue them through their everyday lives.

The Apollo’s Inaugural Festival of Arts & Ideas—Harlem, New York 

Emmy award-winning producer, actor and author Kerry Washington will join Master Artist in Residence Ta-Nehisi Coates and discuss her upcoming memoir, Thicker Than Water in this premiere festival hosted at The Apollo. Running October 6 to October 8, 2023, The three-day event will also feature Jelani Cobb, Ghetto Gastro Collective, Michael Harriot, Jemele Hill, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and more cultural thought leaders sharing and engaging in collective ideas.

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Updated: August 9, 2023 — 3:02 pm