North Carolina Black Repertory Company has announced the mainstage program for its 18th biennial International Black Theatre Festival, taking place July 29-August 3 in Winston-Salem, NC. Now in its 35th year, the six-day festival is considered the biggest event in Black theatre, transforming North Carolina’s city of arts and innovation into a mega-performing arts center with over 130 performances, a star-studded opening night gala and procession, workshops, films, seminars, a midnight poetry slam, and much more, all performed throughout the city’s venues.

Daniel Koa Beaty performs an excerpt from “Love Warrior” during the 2024 International Black Theatre Festival News Conference, June 3rd at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. Photography by C. Stephen Hurst

NC Black Rep Producing Artistic Director Jackie Alexander says this year’s IBTF mainstage includes a rich mix of highly acclaimed productions and proven crowd-pleasers. “One of the first highlights of the festival is Daniel “Koa” Beaty’s Love Warrior: An Evening of Inspiration, which he’s performing at the opening night Gala. Daniel has been called an ‘extraordinary talent’ by Angela Bassett and ‘a genius’ by Phylicia Rashad so the festival will kick-off with a bang.”

Guests at the 2024 IBTF News Conference, June 3rd at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. Photography by C. Stephen Hurst.

“There are so many highlights”, Alexander shares. “We’ve got Twisted Melodies, an immersive one-man tribute to Donny Hathaway, which has been critically acclaimed across the country, and our Fringe spotlight production of August Wilson’s King Hedley II featuring Dorian Missick (All Rise, For Life). Another highlight is the 2022 Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin world premiere winner Coconut Cake, starring former soap opera stars Count Stoval and Nathan Purdee, plus St. Louis Black Rep Artistic Director Ron Himes. And then there’s Nephew Tommy’s Life After 50, written and performed by Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles, co-host of The Steve Harvey Morning Show.”

Broadway veteran and IBTF fan favorite Chester Gregory returns with A Motown Celebration, which Alexander calls a “crowd-pleasing explosion of tunes and tales guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles.”

Photography by C. Stephen Hurst

The history of celebrity appearances and performances at IBTF is extensive. This year’s celebrity co-hosts are Tony and Obie award winner actress, director and producer Tamara Tunie and Broadway veteran and groundbreaking television actor, singer, and songwriter Clifton Davis. Past celebrity appearances have run the gamut from Oprah, Sidney PoitierHarry Belafonte, and Ossie Davis to Brian Stokes MitchellSavion Glover, André de Shields, Tonya Pinkins, and Phylicia Rashad.

The IBTF’s offering of over 130 theatrical performances encompasses new works, Black classics, international productions, and a wide selection of musicals including Betcha By Golly Wow, there’s Never Too Much, a tribute to Phyllis Hyman and Luther Vandross, starring Emmy Award winner R&B singer Alyson Williams and Grammy nominee Terry Steele; Tina Fabrique in How High the Moon: The Music of Ella Fitzgerald; and A Taste of Soul from IBTF mainstay The Black Ensemble Theatre of Chicago.

The complete IBTF program provides details about all festival productions, events, workshops and the curated global exhibition/vendors market featuring handmade and fair-trade one-of-a-kind artworks, jewelry, books, and more.

Purchase tickets for the 18th biennial International Black Theatre Festival at ncblackrep.org/2024-ibtf-productions/.