July 17, 2024

Community News

29th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival Presents BLACK VOICES - STANDING OUR GROUND! Series - May 12, & 13, May 26 & 27 and June 9 & 10
April 29, 2023

 Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises CommUNITY Spotlight San Francisco ~ Dallas~~~

Sat, Apr 29, 2023 at 12:59 PM
 From: Thomas <thomas@afrosolo.org
To: jackiewright@wrightnow.biz


2023 AfroSolo Arts Festival FREE Performance Series
Black Voices - Standing Our Ground!
May 12 & 13, May 26 & 27 at Stage Werx Theatre
June 9 & 10 at Potrero Stage Theatre
29th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival 
FREE Performance Series

Black Voices - Standing Our Ground!

AfroSolo's 29th Annual Arts Festival series with the theme of STANDING OUR GROUND! takes place on Fridays and Saturdays, May 12 & 13, May 26 & 27 and June 9 & 10, 2023.

The May performances will occur on stage at the Stage Werx Theatre,located in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District at 446 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

The June performances will occur on stage at the 
Potrero Stage Theatre located at 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 and will also be live streamed.

Join us for our 29th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival STANDING OUR GROUND! performances this May and June!. See you at the theatre!


Thomas Robert Simpson
AfroSolo Artistic & Executive Director

May 12 & 13 @ 7:00 PM  Performances

Charles Blackwell, poet, singer, and visual artist, will premiere a multi-media work titled: "SHOULDERS TO STAND ON." The work will include poetry, music, and a dancer who will amplify his message of the battle and conquest of the human spirit that has emerged from the injustice, inequality, and oppression that Black people have experienced. Although legally blind, Blackwell is a noted poet, singer, and playwright whose works examine Blackness from the perspective of his unseeing eyes. 

Dr. Mwanza Furaha will perform a musical tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou permitted Dr. Furaha to utilize her poems. She has transformed the poems into a musical soundtrack that honors Dr. Angelou's phenomenal poetry in a way that glorifies her priceless contributions to our history and culture. Dr. Furaha is an actor, dancer, producer, and singer. As a friend of Dr. Angelou, she performed with her numerous times throughout their friendship.

Eric Ward performs "The Last to Know: A Hoarder's Story," which is a story about family dynamics. In the aftermath of his Mother's death and the erosion of his family during his teen years, Eric began to "Collect" things, primarily Musical albums, to cope with the stress. He never saw himself developing into a full-fledged hoarder. However, during his years working in social services, Eric "Discovered" that his "Collection" had become an affliction and began his journey on the Road to Recovery. Years down that road, Eric learned of unspoken secrets that existed in his family. This awakening caused him to reexamine the neglected love, emotional instability, and insecurity he felt from his family. Eric has a keen eye for details and an irresistible sense of humor. Using these skills, he weaves a story of unfortunate circumstances into a triumph of the human spirit. Written by Eric Ward and directed by Geoffrey Grier.

May 26 & 27 @ 7:00 PM  Performances 

Dr. Brenda Wade, Mistress of Ceremony, is an internationally recognized media host, expert, speaker, bestselling author, and significant publication contributor. Dr. Wade has created and led transformational events making her one of the elite global relationship and DEI experts. Combining science, psychology, and personal evolution, Dr. Wade takes a holistic approach to training in the art of business and personal relationships. As the founder of Modern Love & Relationship Global Training Programs, Dr. Wade is a powerful trainer who takes complex ideas and adapts them to her audience, creating an easy-to-understand method for implementation and transformation.

Jeannine Anderson, soprano, is a classically trained opera singer. Anderson performs a mini-concert of twenty minutes along with harpist Destiny Muhammad. featuring Black Spirituals and classical music. Ms. Anderson has toured across the United States and Europe as a professional artist performing operas and shows, such as Madame Lidione in Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites, the titular role in Puccini's Suor Angelica, and Erste Dame in Mozart's Die Zauberflote. She has sung concerts and Oratorios such as Mozart's Requiem in Princeton, NJ, Barber's Summer of Knoxville 1915 in Cleveland, OH, and Handel's Messiah in numerous locations. Ms. Anderson  has been featured on many recordings with local artists and bands, showing her range of jazz, blues, gospel, and even pop *gasp" styles. 

Avotcja is an AfroSolo Arts Festival alumnus who will perform a new work she created based on our festival's theme. In addition, she is an award-winning poet and multi-instrumentalist. She has worked with an impressive list of artists such as opening for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru's Susana Baca at San Francisco's Encuentro and Cuba's Gema y Pável, and played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co. She has shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti and others. Avotcja has been published in English and Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe and in more Anthologie.

Brian Freeman is an actor, director, playwright, educator, and performance artist. He will perform "Untitled," a work exploring his family and growing up in Boston, MA. Freeman is a San Francisco Mime Troupe veteran and has performed in theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay. He was a founding member of the award-winning Afro Pomo Homos that traveled nationally and internationally performing works related to the Black male gay experience. Freemen was a Wattis artist-in-residence at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. He also completed a year in New York as a Resident Director of the New York Shakespeare Festival/Joseph Papp Public Theater.

Destiny Muhammad is a recording, performing artist, Band Leader, composer, and producer. She will perform a twenty-minute mini-concert with vocalist Jeannine Anderson, featuring Black Spirituals and classical music. Her genre spans Celtic to Coltrane. Muhammad has curated concerts for Grace Cathedral Christmas Concert Series, SFJAZZ, and the San Francisco Symphony SOUNDBOX Series. She has been a guest performer with NEA Jazz Master Reggie Workman and shared the stage with Jazz Masters Denise Perrier and Blue Note artist Ambrosen Akisemuire. Muhammad is an AfroSolo alumnus and has headlined The Healdsburg Jazz Festival and Butchertown Jazz Fest. She was the Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2022 Artist in Residence, a Guest Workshop Presenter for Amateur Music Network, a collaborator with the Santa Cruz Symphony, Harp Ambassador for Awesome Orchestra Collective, and Marcus Shelby's New Orchestra.

Registration Is Required For ALL Performances at both Stage Werx and Potrero Stage in person and online.

Reserve your seats for all performances at both Stage Werx and Potrero Stage starting May 4th.



MAY 12 & 13, MAY 26 & 27 @ 7:00 PM (PDT) 

VENUE: Stage Werx Theater, 446 Valencia Street, SF         

Admission: FREE (Donations gratefully accepted)



JUNE 9 & 10 @ 7:00 PM (PDT) 

VENUE: Potrero Stage Theatre, 1695 18th Street, SF        

Admission: FREE (Donations gratefully accepted)

PLEASE READ: COVID Health & Safety Protocols Will Be Observed at both performance venus. The health and safety of our artists, audiences and staff is our highest priority. Masks are required of all audience members and provided at the Stage Werx door, if needed. For Potrero Stage performances, proof of vaccination and masks are required. For complete Potrero Stage health and safety requirements, go to https://potrerostage.org/health-safety-protocols. ADA Accessible.

June 9 & 10 @ 7:00 PM Performances 

Three men, three stories, one American Legacy.

The final weekend of the 29th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival features an original play by Wayne Harris. A passionate storyteller, Wayne delivers a runaway locomotive of a play that pulses with the mesmerizing rhythms, dreams, and contradictions of those who ply their trade on the railroad. Each of three men tell their own chilling take of the events of Spring 1948. While they give their individual account of a particular event, the play itself speaks to the complicated connection African-Americans have as a result of slavery and legislation. It poses the question: How do Black men find their place in America, with all of its challenge, while maintaining their dignity and pride?
Wayne Harris is an award-winning solo performer, writer, educator, curriculum innovator and musician. His plays include Mother’s Milk, which was both an homage to his mother and a nuanced picture of St. Louis during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. Mother’s Milk ran for 14 Weeks in San Francisco and garnered a Fringe Award at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival. In The May Day Parade, Wayne fused his love for drum and bugle corps with his personal childhood battle with polio. Wayne was invited by the U.S. State Department to travel to the Middle East and perform his play, The Letter; Martin Luther King at the Crossroads. Wayne is currently Program Director for The Marsh Youth Theater in San Francisco, CA serving underprivileged students in after-school programs and Summer Camps.

Tony Cyprien found the stage through improv 11 years ago. Supportive teachers nudged him toward the stage where he won his first MOTH StorySlam and created a new story for the GrandSlam. He  would go on to be invited to two Moth Mainstage performances and for selection on NPR Moth Radio. Other invited storytelling performances of original material included “Bay Area Storytelling Hijacked” (BASH) at Shotgun Players Theater and the “Gather” where invited storytellers collaborated with BATS improvisers. Support, encouragement, and collaboration have included the Marin Shakespeare Company’s Returned  Citizens Theater Troupe and the Formerly Incarcerated People’s Performance Project. He appreciates the early opportunities for solo work at Solo Sundays at Stage Werx and at Marsh Theater through Monday Night Marsh and Tell it On Tuesday as well as other venues throughout the Bay Area.

Kirk Waller - Bio TBA

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AfroSolo Theatre Company's mission is to nurture, promote, and present African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and the visual arts. Founded in San Francisco in 1993 by Thomas Robert Simpson, AfroSolo has provided a forum to give an authentic voice to the diverse experiences of Black people in the Americas. Through art, we bring people of different ethnicities together to explore and share the human spirit that binds us all. (www.afrosolosf.org)
We thank our Funders and Community Partners for their support!
AfroSolo is fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which allows us to offer you tax deductions for your contributions. Please make checks payable to Intersection for the Arts, and write AfroSolo Theatre Company in the memo line. This ensures that you’ll receive an acknowledgment letter for tax purposes, and your donation will be available for our project. 
Mail checks to:

Intersection for the Arts
1446 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94102
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AfroSolo Theatre Company, 762 Fulton Street, Suite 303, San Francisco,  CA 94102

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