Flint, Mich. - Today, The Breath Project—a new theatrical initiative formed by Artistic Director and Co-Founder Gamal Abdel Chasten and Co-Founder Marieke Gaboury in response to the current global spotlight on racial injustice against Black people—announced the line-up for the inaugural The Breath Project Virtual Festival being held on at 5 p.m. both Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25.
The virtual festival will feature two works commissioned by Flint Repertory Theatre, created by Flint theatre artists David Guster Nice to Meet You and Harvey Breonna’s Prayer.
“We are thrilled to partner with The Breath Project on this monumental festival,” said Flint Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes. “David Guster and Harvey have created strikingly original, surprising and potent pieces about their own experience. They are both powerful new voices for the American Theatre and we are grateful that we can help share their work with a national audience.”
“I'm so honored to represent theatre in Flint and theatre for actors of color,” says David Guster, a former Flint Youth Theatre student (2009-18) and a junior studying theatre performance at the University of Michigan-Flint. He was recently in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Flint Rep. “I decided to participate in The Breath Project because I've become a very outspoken person during this time of socioeconomic unrest and would consider myself an activist in support of the Black Lives Movement. It's a great opportunity to be a part of theatre that is involved, loud, and helps navigate the feelings we're all having during this time.”
“I submitted to TBP because I had been putting off creating work surrounding all of the oppression that Black people are facing right now. It’s hard to have to sit and think about how you could die at any time with no justice,” said Harvey, who has performed in The Wolves and The Chairs at Flint Rep. “TBP was a really great avenue to force me to finally take the time to bring all of my feelings about the issue to life. The result is the best thing I've created in my life so far. I unlocked a new world of creative possibility through this project.”
In partnership with Flint Repertory Theatre and 23 other theater companies across the country, the free festival will feature 24 world-premiere works created by multidisciplinary theater artists of color that are all 8 minutes and 46 seconds in length. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the 8-minute-and-46-second time frame has become a symbol for the racial injustice faced by countless members of the Black community across the United States. To RSVP for The Breath Project Virtual Festival, visit tinyurl.com/tbp-festival-2020.
“We received many inspiring submissions from around the country to be housed in our archive, and a third of those will be featured at the virtual festival,” said Chasten. “The range of works we received was vast, and included more traditional theatrical presentations and those that challenged the idea of what is theater in this moment of isolation. It is my hope that when people visit our website, attend the virtual festival, or follow and support our vision, they will have their boundaries pushed and their ideas challenged, and that, in the process, we change the face of American theatre.”
Following a call for entries in August 2020, original works ranging from monologues and slam poetry to puppetry and dance activism were submitted. From those entries, a diverse panel of artists of color selected the 24 works that will comprise the inaugural festival. All works that have met the required submission guidelines will be archived on The Breath Project website.
Theaters partnering with The Breath Project include (in alphabetical order): Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Montgomery, AL); Alumni Theater Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Cherry Lane Theatre (New York, NY); Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Cincinnati, Ohio); City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Cornerstone Theater Company (Los Angeles, CA); Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO); Detroit Public Theatre (Detroit, MI); Dorset Theatre Festival (Dorset, VT), Face Off Theatre (Kalamazoo, MI), Flat Rock Playhouse (Flat Rock, NC); Flint Repertory Theatre (Flint, MI); Kumu Kahua Theatre (Honolulu, HI); Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA); Network of Ensemble Theaters (National Service Organization); Palo Alto Children’s Theatre (Palo Alto, CA); Pillsbury House Theatre (Minneapolis, MN); Portland Center Stage (Portland, OR); Rude Mechs (Austin, TX); San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego, CA); Southern Rep Theatre (New Orleans, LA); Studio Theatre (Washington DC); Two River Theater (Red Bank, NJ); and Western Michigan University Department of Theatre (Kalamazoo, MI).
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• An electronic press kit with logo art and photos is available for download
• For an interview with Flint Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes, Theatre
Artists David Guster and Harvey, please contact Dionanda Tillman at 810-237-3112 or