Producers Brian Moreland (Blue) and Arvind Ethan David (Jagged Little Pill) have teamed up to present #WhileWeBreathe: A Night of Creative Protest, an evening of short works written and directed by theatre alums, to benefit the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other justice-focused organizations.
The evening will feature at least 11 world-premiere short works, written and produced in response to the current moment. Following the premiere, all of the works will remain available for viewing.
With casting to be announced, the evening will include premieres by Lee Edward Colston II (The First Deep Breath, For Life), Arvind Ethan David (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), Cheryl Davis (The Bones of Giants, Law & Order: SVU), Nathan Alan Davis (Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Sorry For Your Loss), Steve Harper (God Friended Me, American Crime), Bianca Sams (At Rivers End, Charmed), Keenan Scott II (Thoughts of a Colored Man, A Luv Tale), Aurin Squire (Fire Season, Good Fight), Khari Wyatt (Stomping Down at Sugar's Love, Africana!), and Karen Zacarias (Native Gardens, Destiny of Desire).
Directors will include Steve Broadnax III (The Hot Wing King, The Hip Hop Project), Bianca LaVerne Jones (Armed, FEAST), Patricia McGregor (Lights Out, Nat King Cole, Hamlet), Pratibha Parmar (Nina's Heavenly Delights, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth) and Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown: The Musical on Broadway, Greenleaf). Casting is ongoing and will be announced at a future time.
#WhileWeBreathe will also raise funds for The Bail Project, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), BYP100 Education Fund, Forced Trajectory Project (FTP), The Justice Committee, and SONG.
Read the full mission statement from the benefit event below:
We are a group of BIPOC Artists and Allies, unconditionally committed to ending police and state brutality, institutionalized racism and the interrelated structural issues of racial and economic injustice, both in the broader world and in the theatre and entertainment industries.
These issues have been with us too long and are now tragically exacerbated by the corona virus pandemic.
We know that Black Lives Matter.
We are optimistic that this crux moment can bring reform and meaningful systemic change. We are motivated by the fierce energy of now.
We believe that as storytellers, we have an obligation to contribute to this moment. We have the platform and the freedom and the breath to speak truth to power and tell the stories that reveal the common truth in us all.
“I can’t breathe” cried George Floyd, cried Eric Garner and too many untold others before they were murdered.
We can breathe, and While We Breathe, we will use our breath to tell our stories, and use those stories to raise awareness, to raise funds and to make change.
Our words have power, they have fire, they have force.
While We Breathe: listen, learn, act.
#WhileWeBreathe features editing by Shannon Baker Davis. Mandi Price is the Postproduction Supervisor, casting is by Venus Kanani, CSA, and Benton Whitley, CSA of Stewart/Whitley.