No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Virtual Festival

Join us for our Virtual Festival to watch both Live and Pre-Recorded videos of various events, and behind-the-scenes interviews with cast, creative teams, and other artists. Thank you to HowlRound for partnering with No Dream Deferred to make this event possible.

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Drapetomania: A Negro Carol

By M.D. Schaffer

Directed by David Kote

Confronted with the devastating reality of police brutality and institutionalized racism, interracial couple Maggie and Wayne must face what it means to raise a Black child in today’s landscape. Battles arise when the ghosts of L.D Barkley, Anna J. Cooper, and John Brown recruit Wayne to become a modern-day African-American civil rights leader, as bigoted and bitter Samuel Cartwright desperately fights for the reinstatement of chattel slavery. As the chaos ensues, the characters are suddenly challenged with their own fictionality, begging the question: who and what has the power to control and resist?

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Join us for a night of laughter. New Orleans's own, Lauren Malara presents headliner Jackie Jenkins Jr.

Thursday, February 23rd

Thursday, March 30th

Thursday, April 27th

Doors at 7:30 pm CT, show at 8:00 pm CT

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-The Self-Aware Millennial Live!

The Self-Aware Millennial Podcast is thrilled to host LIVE SHOWS at the We Will Dream Fest! Join New Orleans’s own J.Mix and other cycle-breaking artists of color for an evening of entertainment as they explore innovative solutions to some of life’s most challenging experiences.


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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Where the Suga Still Sweet

By Brian Egland

Directed by Lauren Turner Hines

In a small southern town the murder of a young black boy echoes heavily within Runna, a traumatized black male seeking refuge in communicating with his murdered friend through a single, vibrant patch of sugarcane. Though mute to the external world, Runna is able to embrace his superpower of love and mediumship but his type of love isn’t well-received by Aunt Nanny Mae and the brazen pastor Vern-Mayor who work to baptize it out of him. It is only through a passing stranger, Incwadi, that the demons of homophobia and the past are confronted as the vast field of sugarcane dies and their lives are transformed forever.

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To Be Young, Gifted & Black Monologue Showcase:

-Actors must not exceed 3 minutes
-Actors may perform one of the following:
· One or Two Monologues
· One Monologue AND One Song

*Any song performed will need to be acapella

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Opening Plenary: James Ijames

Please join us for a conversation with our Opening Plenary Speaker, James Ijames, winner of the 2022 Pulizter Prize in Drama.

James Ijames is a playwright, director and educator.

James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for "Superior Donuts" and "Angels in America" and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for "The Brothers Size" with Simpatico Theatre Company and "Gem of the Ocean" with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for "WHITE," the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for "....Miz Martha," a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for "Kill Move Paradise" and a 2020 Steinberg Prize.

James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective.

He received a B.A. in drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a co-artistic of the Wilma Theater. He resides in South Philadelphia.

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-The Defiance of Dandelions

By Philana Imade Omorotionmwan

Directed by Nicole Brewer

Things were good in the time before time and The First Girl in the Whole Entire World was full of “Coulds” back then, until “Should” arrived. Ever since, The Strongness, The Queerness, The Boisterousness, The Brazenness, The Thickness, and The Softness have been trapped as punishment for failing to behave the way girls should. While waiting for a reprieve that feels like it may never come, how will the girls. discover that together they have the power to turn a bouquet into a meadow?

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Closing Plenary: Erika Dickerson-Despenza

Join us for a conversation with our Closing Plenary Speaker, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, the 2021 winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a New Orleans-based Blk radical leftist poet-playwright and womanist cultural-memory worker. Afrosurrealism, magical realism, narrative re/memory, kinesthetic imagination and Black queer women's interiority and erotic fugitivity are conceptual preoccupations of her work. Erika's primary thematic foci are Black land legacies, Black apocalyptic ritual and environmental racism. Her work occupies sites of intimate reckoning, situating rupture in traditionally sacred or “safe” spaces to make invisible systems of environmental oppression and cultural trauma visible and ultimately ask us to consider abolitionist political ecologies. She is the creator and inaugural resident of The Ntozake Shange Social Justice Playwriting Residency, which supports distinguished women, femme, and non-binary scholar-playwrights of the African Diaspora for two-year terms. Awards: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (2021), Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award (2020), Thom Thomas Award (2020), Lilly Award (2020), Barrie and Bernice Stavis Award (2020), Grist 50 Fixer (2020), Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2019). Residencies & Fellowships: Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater (2019-2020), U.S. Water Alliance National Arts & Culture Delegate (2019), New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence (2019), New Harmony Project Writer-in Residence (2019), Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow (2018-2019), The Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow (2018). Communities: Grist, Ars Nova Play Group (2019-2021), Youngblood Collective (2018-2021). Commissions: Climate Change Theatre Action, The Public Theater, Studio Theatre & Williamstown Theatre Festival. Productions: SHADOW/LAND (The Public Theater, 2023), CULLUD WATTAH (The Public Theater, 2021), [HIEROGLYPH] (San Francisco Playhouse/Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 2021). Currently, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, which centers climate crisis-induced and state-sanctioned water vulnerabilities and displacement rippling in and beyond New Orleans and the Midwest. These works explore the politics of disgust, shame and refusal by highlighting the rupture of government intervention at the intersection of capitalism and environmental racism and its impact on dispossessed peoples.

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No Dream Deferred's WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival-Sons of Liberty

by Cris Eli Blak

Directed by John "Ray" Proctor, III

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