‘1001 Black Inventions’ continues The Essential Theatre’s free presentations for young audiences

A series of three one-time-only performances all free and open to the public.

The Essential Theatre rings in the New Year by continuing an 18-month celebration of the 30th anniversary of its founding. In partnership with the District of Columbia Public Library System the company is presenting a series of three unique and thought-provoking children’s productions. Made possible by support from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Wells Fargo Bank, all performances are free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday Monday, January 20, 2020, 1001 Black Inventions will be performed at the Anacostia Library at 3:00 pm. The library is located at 1800 Good Hope Road, SE, Washington, DC. For more information call 202-715-7707.

Jan Ernst Matzelige and the shoe-lasting machine he invented and patented in 1883. It revolutionized the shoe-making industry.

1001 Black Inventions, written and directed by Ersky Freeman, is an eye-opening play that introduces audiences to brilliant Black men and women inventors, then takes you into the Twilight Zone utilizing a typical American family attempting to survive in a world without inventions created by Africans and African Americans. Audiences laugh themselves into the realization that Black ingenuity is an integral part of their everyday lives.

Harriet Tubman: The Chosen One will be presented Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at the Benning Heights Library at 6:30 pm. The library is located at 3935 Benning Road, NE, Washington, DC.

In celebration of the birthday of civil rights icon, Dorothy Irene Height, Harriet Tubman: The Chosen One is a 45-minute performance about the life of great slave abolitionist Harriet Ross Tubman Davis. The play transports audiences to a time in our history that details Tubman’s many journeys on the Underground Railroad. This captivating performance will make every audience member search their hearts to explore how they can continue the work of this great American heroine.

Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale will be performed Saturday, April 4, 2020, at the Anacostia Library at 3:00 pm.  The library is located at 1800 Good Hope Road, SE, Washington, DC.

Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale follows Winston, a young inner-city boy who goes to Brooklyn, NY, to get ingredients for his aunt’s callaloo dinner when he is magically transported to the Caribbean island of Tobago. There he encounters mythical folkloric characters that roam the island. His fears and fantasies fuse together as the reality of his magical journey becomes dire. He must find his way out of this haunting paradise or risk being lost forever. Appropriate for ages 4 to 8, this performance is accompanied with a music workshop.

The Essential Theatre is a nonprofit professional theatre dedicated but not limited to producing theatre reflective of the African-American experience that explores and celebrates America’s rich, diverse cultural landscape. Paramount to the company’s mission is the implementation of programs for youth in Washington, DC’s metropolitan area that promote interdisciplinary education and positive self-esteem. Founded in 1989, the company hosts a play development program, The Essential Theatre’s New Play Reading Series, the Children’s Program in Public Schools (Young Audiences), and the Women’s Works Program.  The company also maintains a relationship with area Social Services programs to provide job training opportunities.


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