Black Theatre Troupe’s annual ‘Black Nativity’ opens

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David Hemphill, Executive Director of Black Theatre Troupe, visited “Arizona Horizon” to discuss the company’s production of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity,”which the company has staged annually for over 25 years.

You’ll hear and move to the traditional Christmas carols but also some gospel music as well. Some songs have been written specifically for this production during the holiday season.

The first first act is strictly Langston Hughes’s script, and strictly that structure. The second act is made so that companies can do various things with the second act. There’s a portion of the second act that is still some of Langston Hughes’ narrative.

“But in terms of the songs, they make no suggestions, they let you do what you want,” Hemphill said. “It’s pretty economical and entertaining, you do the first act, you save the costumes and set from the previous year. And then the second act, you spend a little more money and it goes all out.”

The Black Theatre Troupe, as did everyone else, had to survive the COVID-19 pandemic which he said was not easy at all but had a lot of support within the community.

“It was a little touch and go in the beginning. But as the as a pandemic gotten worse, it seems as though our base and our supporters stepped up more,” Hemphill said. “We are in a financial position that is unmatched over our history, we’re in a very, very good financial position. So we did well, it was scary during the pandemic, because we knew that many groups weren’t going to make it to the other side. And some didn’t. But we were very, very fortunate.”

The Black Nativity production runs from Dec. 3 to Dec. 19 at the Black Theatre Troupe. All ages are welcome for the events.


David Hemphill/Black Theatre Troupe

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