Mosaic Theater to present free H Street Oral History Project Festival March 16–17

The event will include readings of new work by three local playwrights, inspired by interviews with H Street residents past and present.

The multi-year arc of Mosaic’s H Street Oral History Project, spearheaded by the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright-in-Residence Psalmayene 24, culminates with the H Street Oral History Project Festival on March 16-17. Using Washington, DC’s H Street corridor as a source of inspiration and preservation, local playwrights Dane Figueroa Edidi, Gethsemane Herron, and James J. Johnson have written new plays inspired by interviews with residents past and present. Staged readings of these new works will be the focal point of the festival. The festival will also include an H Street neighborhood walking tour led by Justice Walks, panel discussions curated in collaboration with the DC History Center, and food samples from new H Street hotspots Hiraya, Paste and Rind, and more.

Playwrights Dane Figueroa Edidi, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, and James J. Johnson. Photos and H Street illustration courtesy of Mosaic Theater Company.


Saturday 3/16

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Justice Walks Walking Tour of H Street Corridor
  • 1:00-3:00 p.m.: Reading of Central Time by James J. Johnson followed by a talk-back in the Lang Theatre/Atlas
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Psalmayene 24 and Jane Lang In Conversation in the Lang Theatre/Atlas on Redeveloping the Atlas and the Growth of the Arts on H Street
  • 7:00-9:00 p.m.: Reading of Smoke by Dane Figueroa Edidi followed by a talk-back in the Lang Theatre/Atlas

Sunday 3/17

  • 1:00-1:45 p.m.: DC History Center Panel Discussion about the Past, Present and Future of the H Street Corridor in the Lang Theatre/Atlas
  • 2:00-5:00 p.m.: Reading of George on H by Gethsemane Herron-Coward followed by talk-back in Lang Theatre/Atlas


The H Street Oral History Project is an ambitious, multi-year venture in partnership with DC Public Libraries and with support from the National Endowment of the Arts to chronicle the H Street Corridor. Three DC playwrights—with support from one dramaturg—interviewed past and current residents of the H Street neighborhood and created three brand new full-length plays and three monologues surrounding the history and enduring legacy of the neighborhood.

The interviews focused on the protests in 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the summer 2020 protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd. The Festival is a celebration of one of DC’s most enduring neighborhoods, and all interviews and plays will be archived in the DC Public Library oral history collections.


Established in 1894 and located at the downtown Carnegie Library, the DC History Center is a community-supported nonprofit organization, which deepens understanding of our city’s past to connect, empower, and inspire. It collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital through research and scholarship, adult programs, youth education, and exhibits. The Center seeks to do this work as a welcoming and inclusive community that fosters curiosity and nurtures civic engagement to strengthen the District for all. For more information visit


Justice Walks LOVES Washington DC. Its people, its culture and its history. They want you to love it too. But not just in terms of facts or figures — but to meet people, hear their stories and better understand new perspectives. Justice Walks offers insight on both historical and current justice realities, placing neighborhoods and people in a larger context. When we better understand our context, we know better how to be a good neighbor. Justice Walks longs to equip people to be good neighbors, whether you’re new to town and wondering where you find yourself in the midst of the gentrification landscape— or you’ve been here for a while. They believe a tour can do all that — engage, inspire, connect, and develop us to be the neighbors and visitors we’d all hope to be. More information at


Mosaic Theater Company of DC produces bold, culturally diverse theater that illuminates critical issues, elevates fresh voices, and sparks connection among communities throughout our region and beyond. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas and Managing Director Serge Seiden, Mosaic produces plays that both entertain and enlighten, using art to build empathy amongst diverse people united by the magic of theater, and hopes to build community by reflecting the many cultures that call DC home.


Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Helen Hayes Award-winning Playwright (Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem – 2020, For Black Trans Girls…Ghost/Writer, The Diaz Family Talent ShowQuest of The Reed Marsh DaughterThe Dance of Memories), Advocate, Dramaturg, a two-time Helen Hayes Award-nominated choreographer (2016, 2018) and co-editor of the Black Trans Prayer Book. She is the founder of The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of TGNC Artist of Color. Considered one of the most prolific artists of our time, she is the first Trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (2016), and in DC to publish a work of Fiction (Yemaya’s Daughters (2013). She is the curator and a co-producer of Long Wharf Theatre’s Black Trans Women at the Center: An Evening of Short Plays. Her radio play, Quest of The Reed Marsh Daughter, can be heard on the Girl Tale’s Podcast, and her play The Diaz Family Talent Show can be read on the Play at Home Website. She wrote episode 9 (Refuge) of Round House Theater’s web series Homebound, and was one of the writers for Arena Stage’s short film The 51st State.

James J. Johnson (J. J.) is a professional actor and writer. He currently resides in the DC Metro Area with his wife, Sonal. He has appeared with many theatres across the area, including the historic African-Continuum Theatre Co., Mosaic Theater Co., Arena Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Theater J, Rep Stage, Kennedy Center and  1st Stage. In 2020, he received a Solo Works commission from 1st Stage in Tyson’s Corner, VA, which led to the creation of his solo show, CONUNDRUM. He co-wrote the award-winning short film “Silent Partner,” which was conceived by (and starred) Roderick Lawrence, directed/co-written by Aristotle Torres (“Story Ave”) and featured the Tony Award-nominated actress, Kara Young. J. J. also narrates audiobooks for the Library of Congress, and his voice has appeared in various podcasts. He is a proud member of both SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association. He received his B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1997, graduating magna cum laude. A fervent believer in community, J. J. is a co-founder of Galvanize DC, a DMV support network for Black theatre artists.

Gethsemane Herron is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Hearth, The Fire This Time Festival, The Liberation Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwright’s Center, Ars Nova, and WP Theater. She is a Resident Artist with Ars Nova’s Play Group, a 2020-2022 member of the WP Lab, a 2021-2022 Jerome Fellow, and a 2022-2023 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwright’s Center. Additional residencies include VONA and the Millay Colony. She is the 2022 Winner of the Helen Merill Award, winner of the Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series, winner of the 45th Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, and finalist for Space on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency, the Van Lier New Voices Fellowship at the Lark, and the Founders Award at New York Stage and Film. She received her MFA from Columbia University. Gethsemane splits her time between New York City and Minneapolis, where she is a Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. She is enamored with Sailor Moon and other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors.

Mosaic Theater aligns its safety protocols with those of the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
Masking is recommended, however it is no longer mandatory — masks in theaters and public spaces at the Atlas Performing Arts Center are now optional. For the latest information, visit

Readings and discussions will take place at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE, Washington, DC. All events are free but tickets are required; they can be reserved at:


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