WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- North Carolina Black Repertory (NCBRC) Officials today announced actors T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh and Lamman Rucker will serve as celebrity co-chairs for the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF). The NBTF will be held Monday, August 1st- Saturday August 6th.
The announcement was made during a national news conference held at the Garden Terrace of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Winston-Salem, NC. Keymáh and Rucker both made appearances and dazzled the crowd as they spoke about their involvement with the NBTF and the importance of supporting black theatre. NCBRC officials were joined by Mayor Allen Joines for the big announcement. Joines, NBTF fundraising co-chair acknowledged the importance of the event to Winston-Salem and thanked sponsors and supporters.
Rucker may be best known for his role as Will in Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns sitcom, currently running on Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). His career includes many television roles and a 2002 Audelco nomination for his portrayal of Jason in Euripides' Medea. Rucker most recently gave stellar performances as Sheriff Troy in the highly successful motion pictures Why Did I Get Married? and its sequel Why Did I Get Married Too? Rucker has been a longtime supporter of the NBTF. He has performed in several Festival productions. Rucker says he is honored to have been chosen to represent the NBTF.
Keymáh is known worldwide for her critically acclaimed work on TV's In Living Color, Cosby, and That's So Raven. Keymáh has performed on countless stages on three continents, including performances at the NBTF. She also serves as an Artistic Associate for Stage Aurora Theatrical Company in Jacksonville, FL, and an Artistic Advisor for Bronzeville Theatre Company in Chicago. Her numerous honors include: NAACP Theatre Awards, Vision Award, The HistoryMakers, The Chicago African American History Makers, and Who's Who Among Black Americans. Keymáh says she looks to bring energy and excitement to her new role as co-chair of the 2011 NBTF.
NCBRC officials also announced new components to the festival. Officials say they normally announce the co-chairs closer to Festival, but chose to do it earlier this year for several reasons.
"Our wonderful co-chairs wanted to get an early start promoting the NBTF and all it has to offer. We also as an organization wanted to make sure that the Festival was on the radar of theatre-lovers around the world. We look to use this early start to promote all the exciting components of this year's festival," said Gerry Patton, NCBRC Executive Director.
There will be a major news conference in June to announce the selected productions for the 2011 NBTF, along with some other exciting components. NBTF is the only national black theatre festival in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theatre, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and shopping.
Officials say they are still raising funds but are pleased to have received early commitments from the following sponsors:
City of Winston Salem, The Millennium Fund, Reynolds American, Visit Winston-Salem, Hanesbrands, Inc., Twin City Quarter, Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Josh Howard Foundation, Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, N.C. Arts Council, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and The Marvtastic Society.
NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin. The Festival has been held biennially since 1989 and attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem, N.C. The National Black Theatre Festival was named "A 2011 Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society".