Bishop Arts Theatre Center is celebrating its 25th season with the theme Silver Threads, a reference to both its longevity and its place in the Oak Cliff community. The season features five productions, including the return of the female playwright festival; two regional premieres; a Dallas premiere by the artistic director of Amphibian Productions; and the return of the holiday favorite by Langston Hughes, Black Nativity.
"The Bishop Arts Theatre Center has a long and rich legacy of engaging in topical questions of today's live performances while giving a platform to local and regional artists," says founder and executive artistic director Teresa Wash.
It begins with the regional premiere of Amy Evans' The Champion, which is inspired by untold events in the life of music legend Nina Simone. In 1962 North Carolina, Simone and her band are held up in a greasy spoon by a snowstorm. As tempers flare and secrets surface, it seems the waitress at this small-town diner will soon be the only witness to a historic meltdown. Suddenly, the door swings open, and the famous outsiders discover they're truly in unfriendly territory. It runs October 11-28, 2018.
Returning for its 15th straight year, Black Nativity is Langston Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story through spoken word, song, music, dance, and theater. This one-of-a-kind Christmas pageant has become one of the community's most cherished holiday traditions. It runs December 6-23, 2018.
Katheen Culebro's La Llorona: A Love Story had its world premiere in New York City in 2007, and her company Amphibian Stage Productions staged it in 2010. Now tradition, superstition, and love collide in Bishop Arts, as an American executive and his pregnant wife find themselves in Mexico City, moving into the home of a couple who have been forced to rent it in order to support themselves. When the warnings of La Llorona — a mythical ghost who weeps for her lost children — are ignored, both couples might find dire consequences for their families. It runs February 7-24, 2019.
Back for its fourth year, Down for #TheCount is a one-act play festival featuring six dynamic female playwrights from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds, articulating the strong female voice in the #MeToo movement. Though the stories are compelling, hilarious, and heartbreaking, keep in mind that they are also only suitable for audiences ages 18 and up. It runs March 21-April 7, 2019.
The regional premiere of The Real James Bond was Dominican closes out the mainstage season, telling the true story about Porfirio Rubirosa, Ian Fleming's inspiration for his famous Bond character. Christopher Rivas performs his own script, which can be described as a young man's guide to love, sex, color, code-switching, white-washing, success, fake-it-till-you-make-it, and the roller coaster of finding one's true self. It runs May 17-19, 2019.
Hector Cantú leads off the theater's speaker series on January 26, 2019, with An Afternoon with Baldo & Friends. Cantú, co-creator of the Baldo newspaper comic strip that's published by nearly 200 newspapers across the United States, leads a panel of creators to discuss characters that connect with today's audiences.
Rose Colarossi and Darlene Ellison are next with Women's World: A Practical Guide to Success and Happiness on June 29, 2019. The international business and life strategist Colarossi and award-winning author Ellison will discuss women's empowerment issues in the new #MeToo era.
Sanderia Faye closes out the speaker series on August 3, 2019. The author of Mourner's Bench also serves on the faculty at Southern Methodist University and is a professional speaker and activist. She is co-founder and a fellow at Kimbilio Center for Fiction, and her work has appeared in the anthology Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas. Faye moderated the grassroots panel for the Arkansas Civil Rights Symposium during the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary and is coordinating the first AWP African Diaspora Caucus.
Two other special events are on tap, including the Day of the Dead celebration RiTuALé on November 1-2, 2018, and an anniversary festival called Coming Home that will celebrate and reflect on the theater's 25 years on July 13, 2019.
"For 25 years, this theater has been a cornerstone for arts and culture in our community," says Walsh. "We've been intentional about being more than a theater; our goal has been to be a neighborhood resource center. We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a community that has helped propel our success."
Tickets range from $18-$30, with discount tickets available for groups of 15 or more. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.bishopartstheatre.org or calling 214-948-0716.