The Coalition of Theatres of Color will salute the historic Negro Ensemble Company’s 45th anniversary and the acclaimed Audelco Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre’s 40th anniversary with "Award-Winning Journeys in Black Theatre", a special press event by award-winning actors Lillias White and Chuck Cooper on Monday, June 25 at 10:30 a.m. Harlem’s Con. Charles Rangel’s office is presenting a proclamation.
The event will take place at Dwyer Cultural Center, 258 St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. Speakers include Charles Weldon, artistic director, Negro Ensemble Company, Grace L. Jones, executive director, Audelco and Woodie King, Jr., chairman, Coalition of Theatres of Color.
Lillias White, renowned Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic’s Circle, Obie, Emmy and Audelco award-winning actress and singer (Cats, Dreamgirls, The Life, How to Succeed in Businessand TV’s Sesame Street), will co-host with NEC alum Chuck Cooper, acclaimed Tony and Audelco award-winning actor and singer (The Life, Finian's Rainbow, Lennon, Caroline Or Change, Chicago, Amen Corner and TV’s Law & Order, Cosby Mysteries and Nurse Jackie). Charles Weldon, a NEC member since 1970, performed in over 40 NEC productions, like classics A Soldier’s Play, The Great McDaddy, The Brownsville Raid and The River Niger.
Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) is the legendary theatre company founded in 1967 by Robert Hooks, Gerald Krone and Douglass Turner Ward. It has produced more than 200 new plays and provided a theatrical home for more than 4,000 cast and crew members. NEC alumni include some of the best Black actors in television and film, including Oscar nominees Adolph Caesar, Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson and Oscar winners Lou Gossett, Jr. and Denzel Washington. NEC’s acclaimed dramas include: Lonnie Elder's Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Charles Fuller's Zooman and the Sign, Samm-Art Williams’ Home and Leslie Lee’s First Breeze of Summer. Joseph Walker’s The River Niger won the Tony Award for Best Play and Charles Fuller’s A Soldier's Play won the Pulitzer. There will be a photo display of several NEC productions.
Audelco was established and incorporated in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson to stimulate interest in, and support of, performing arts in Black communities. Each November, the annual Audelco Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre are held in Harlem. The “Viv Awards” are the only formally established awards presented to the New York Black theatre community. In addition, Audelco conducts theatre groups, young audience development, Black Arts Festival, Black theatre archives and addresses awareness of the contributions of Black theatre.
Coalition of Theatres of Color (CTC) is a non-profit community of renowned multi-cultural theatre arts organizations in New York City and New York State. Each institution brings over 25 years of artistic achievement with critically acclaimed and award-winning work. These institutions have joined forces to ensure sustainability and longevity of theatres of color in multicultural communities.