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“Frederick Douglass, No Turning Back” Chosen for The National Black Theater Festival August 4-6 in North Carolina
The National Black Theater Festival has chosen the highly acclaimed theater production, "Frederick Douglass, No Turning Back", to be one of thirty events in their 2022 week-long festival. Starring New York actor, Kyle Taylor, adapted, directed and produced by Chris Weatherhead, the one act play, takes place in 1872 in an integrated church in western Ohio.
“It’s a great honor to be invited to this wonderful festival,” Chris Weatherhead said. “I spent years researching the electrifying journey of Frederick Douglass, his escape from slavery and astounding achievements as a major leader of our society and culture. His contributions as an inspirational Christian lecturer, philosopher and newspaper editor can hardly be measured for their benefits to the heart and soul of America,”
Kyle Taylor received high acclaim for his portrayal of Mr. Douglass in 2017 at the Piccolo Spoleto Theatre Festival in Charleston South Carolina and touring since. The video of his performance has won four international film awards.
Mr. Taylor co-starred in theater in New York City including Six Degrees of Separation at Center Stage, and A River Niger starring Esther Rolle (of CBS “Good Times”) in Los Angeles. Mr. Taylor created the role of Samuel in the award-winning docudrama, John Laurens’ War for Moving Images Group at Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina. In Charleston, Kyle received rave reviews for his role of Dr. Martin Luther King in The Mountaintop, Crown in Porgy and Bess at the historic Dock Street Theatre and Crooks in Of Mice & Men. He is the inventor of Coollettes, a compact cooling product, which can be found at coollettes.com
Kyle Taylor on portraying Mr. Douglass:
“As an actor, playing Mr. Douglass is not only one of the most humbling and courageous experiences of my life, but I am reminded that portraying this giant of a man also gives me a voice and a position to seek higher ground in terms of my contributions to remind America of its greatness. Playing Frederick makes me want his approval and a place beside God as one of his warriors for justice and righteousness. It makes me stand a little taller.”
The National Black Festival, was founded in 1989 by Larry Leon Hamlin in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As its executive director, Hamlin’s goal was "to unite black theatre companies in America to ensure the survival of the genre into the next millennium.” Held biennially since 1989 for six days, the NBTF showcases the best in African-American theater.
Billed as the world’s largest event in Black theater, the festival had over 60,000 attendees when it was last held in 2019, and is expected to have a similar number of attendees this year. For information visit website: https://ncblackrep.org/nbtf-2022/.
This year’s performances include, but are not limited to: “Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey,” “Frederick Douglass: No Turning Back,” “Greenwood,” “I Wanna Be Evil: The Eartha Kitt Story,” “Let My People Go!,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Natural Woman: An Aretha Story,” and “Pooled: A Gospel Musical Drama.”
MORE INFORMATION on Director, supporting actor and pianist/vocalist...
CLARENCE FELDER (Pastor Brewster/Executive Producer) co-starred with John Ritter as “Bobo” Pritzger in ABC’s hit comedy cop series Hooperman, for two years, as well as Danny Devito in the hit feature film Ruthless People and Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout. His career in film, TV and theater spans five decades in the US & Canada. In New York, his work included co-starring in ten Broadway shows including New York’s Shakespeare in the Park and Great Lakes Shakespeare, working with some of our greatest stars, writers and directors. Mr. Felder is the executive producer and co-founder of the award-winning professional company, Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina. He has acted in or directed most of its 105 productions, including Herman Goering in Goering At Nuremberg, Ludwig Beethoven in Beethoven; His Women & Music, and The Defense Attorney in Breaker Morant. He is a playwright.
SANDRA S. BARNHARDT (incidental music, soloist/ vocal coach), brings nearly 60 years of music experience and an illustrious career as musician and music educator, including Director of Vocal Music at Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts in New Jersey, performing internationally with renowned artists, Minister of Music for St. Matthew AME Church in Orange, NJ, where her Male Choir traveled the US and internationally. They won a Regional Emmy for a documentary, “The Sons of Thunder”, and performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with The Chieftans. In Charleston, South Carolina, Mrs. Barnhardt has been the Asst. Minister of Music at Ebenezer AME Church and Minister of Music at Bethel AME Church in Ravenel, SC. She is the former Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir, which performed across the region and in London, Paris, and Ghana, West Africa.
CHRIS WEATHERHEAD (compiler/director/producer) Ms. Weatherhead recently co-wrote, directed and produced the award-winning film, John Laurens’ War. A thirty-year veteran in film, TV, New York theater, and regional theater in America, Chris currently directs, produces and coaches actors and screenwriters. Ms. Weatherhead directed the feature film, All For Liberty, which has won nine international film festival awards and was recently named one of Top Ten Revolutionary War Movies by the Journal of the American Revolution. Off-Broadway. Chris starred in Table Settings for two years with Brent Spiner in James Lapine’s major hit and created the role of Alicia Van Dine for two years on ABC’s daytime series, Edge of Night, among other roles for daytime and prime time TV series, including Our Family Honor and Moonlighting. Chris has directed or produced 92 productions over 20 years for ATSC and has won numerous film awards.
For information visit website: https://ncblackrep.org/nbtf-2022/. www.ActorsTheatreOfSC.Org
Actors' Theatre of South Carolina has received a major Growth Grant from South Carolina Humanities, www.schumanities.org.
Funding for Growth Grants has been provided by the National Endowment
for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue
Plan (SHARP) initiative. Screenings of the award-winning films will
take place across the state throughout 2022.