INTERVIEW: Keith Franklin Of The New African Grove Theater Company
Woodlawn Post is located in the home of one the largest African American Museums in the World, the Charles M. Wright Museum. We were granted the unique opportunity to talk with Mr. Keith Franklin of the New African Grove Theater Company. This company was founded to encourage African-American participation and involvement in a community theater group that spoke to their cultural ascetics in the Atlanta area. From New African Grove’s production of Gus Edwards’ Louie & Ophelia has been selected for the 2012 DC Black Theater Festival, this festival will run from June 23rd to July 1st
WP: How are you today Mr. Franklin?
Mr. Keith Franklin: I am fine. Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I welcome an opportunity to share information about the New African Grove Theater Company.
WP: So tell me about New African Grove…
Mr. Keith Franklin: New African Grove Theater Company had its debut performance in May 2009. This company was founded to encourage African-American participation and involvement in a community theater group that spoke to their cultural ascetics. In the Atlanta area, there were many community theaters that focused on the traditional Euro-American canon of plays. Most of these plays had few roles that were specifically for African-Americans. Often there would be minor roles that Black actors were given a chance to perform, but for the most part, the plays were from a decidedly Euro-American viewpoint. We are here to increase public awareness of the significant contributions of African-Americans to the American theatrical tradition.
Mr. Keith Franklin: The New African Grove Theater Company carries on the spirit of the first African-American theater company in the United States, the original African Grove company. Free Blacks established the theater in New York City in 1821. Even though the company folded after only two years of play production, the theater was important because it provided an opportunity for African Americans to present plays that gave them dignity. We have a very loyal following of people that were tired of seeing the simple formula plays; people that were hungry for more thought provoking, literate theater.
WP: Do you have any upcoming events everyone should know about?
Mr. Keith Franklin: New African Grove’s production of Gus Edwards’ Louie & Ophelia has been selected for the 2012 DC Black Theater Festival, this festival will run from June 23rd to July 1st . Our production of Pearl Cleage’s A Song For Coretta has been selected to participate in the inaugural Atlanta Black Theater Festival which run October 4th through October 7th . We are excited to be include among theater companies from around the country. Our next Atlanta production will be August Wilson’s Gem Of The Ocean and that show will run from July 13ththrough July 15th.
WP: Well I wish you much more success with New African Grove, thank you for speaking with Wood Lawn Post this afternoon!
Mr. Keith Franklin: Thank you for being a cyberspace voice for grassroots organizations like the New African Grove Theater Company.
(Written by Intern Amanda Franklin and Edited by Adrian Mitchell for Woodlawn Post)
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