PSU Altoona plans African American Read-In activities

Dinner reservations due Jan. 27

The annual African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona will take place Feb. 16 and 17.

This year’s theme is “Black Theatre through a Black Lens,” celebrating the African American dramatic literary tradition — its themes, forms and playwrights — from slavery times through the first two decades of the 21st century.

Events begin at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Port-Sky Cafe with a community gathering featuring short performances and a special program component for children. A dinner will also be served. Attendees are invited to share a short reading from a work by an African American author or just listen and enjoy. Advance reservations are required. RSVP to mbs12@psu.edu, call 949-5288 or register online at http://sites

.psu.edu/aareadin/ by Jan. 27.

The Read-In continues Feb. 17 with “Monday Marathon,” an Open Mic Read-In held in the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., various presentations, readings and performances will take place to celebrate African American plays and playwrights. The Penn State Altoona and Blair County communities are invited to drop in any time throughout the day to participate and/or listen and enjoy.

From noon to 1 p.m. the keynote presentation “How August Wilson’s Decade Series Changed the American Narrative” by Charles Dumas will take place in Misciagna.

Dumas is a professor emeritus from Penn State, where he was the first tenured African American professor in the School of Theatre. In 2002, Dumas was a Fulbright Fellow at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

A professional writer, director and actor, Dumas is a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts recipient for playwriting and twice a semi-finalist for playwriting from the National O’Neil Festival. He has directed and written more than 50 plays.

He is a winner of the best actor award from the Hollywood/Beverly Hills NAACP and a winner of an Emmy for Ensemble Acting for his portrayal of Bob Ming in the television miniseries Separate but Equal, starring Sidney Poitier.

At 5:30 p.m., the featured author of the 2020 African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona, Denise J. Hart, will give a reading and talk in the Titelman Study of Misciagna. Hart’s plays are grounded in the African American experience and explore the intersection of race, class and identity and its impact on memory, personal integrity and family. As a scholar, Hart is driven by a commitment to document and preserve under researched narratives in the history of black theater, particularly black playwrights.

Hart is a commissioned playwright with Plowshares Theatre Company in Detroit, one of the oldest continuous nationally recognized African American theatre companies and Michigan’s only professional African American theater company.

Founder of the playwriting program at Howard University, where she currently teaches as an associate professor, Hart is the recipient of several national playwriting honors and awards. She is also a screenwriter, a dramaturg and a director.

All events are free and open to the public and sponsored by the African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona with additional support from the Blair County NAACP.

If you’d like to sign up to read or have questions about the Monday Marathon, contact Robin Reese at RLR28@psu.edu.

Find out more at http://sites.psu.edu

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