Not content to welcome audiences back to the theater with a single play, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO) has instead curated an entire festival. The inaugural New Roots Theatre Festival includes an Afrofuturist play in verse by Aidaa Peerzada, a musical centering the East Bay’s Betty Reid Soskin (the oldest living park ranger in the United States), a performance from SF’s Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico, and short pieces produced by Black-led organizations including Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Company, African-American Shakespeare Company, AfroSolo, and PUSH Dance. (The companies are organized into “pods” that perform in tandem, with repeating shows, so audiences can see the whole program over the course of the weekend.)
Additionally, SFBATCO will revive their award-winning I, Too, Sing America. First conceptualized in 2018 by music director Othello Jefferson, ITSA sets works by notable artists of color such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frances Chung and Beyoncé to music and movement. This timely revival includes new materials for 2021 while celebrating the long history of revolutionary poetry and prose as an American tradition.
The New Roots Theatre Festival runs Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17, at the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco. Details here.