The Kennedy Center

Hip Hop Theater Festival



Biography

Founded in 2000, The Hip Hop Theater Festival continues to invigorate the fields of theater and Hip Hop by: nurturing the creation of innovative work within the Hip Hop aesthetic; presenting and touring American and international artists whose work addresses the issues relevant to the Hip Hop generation; and serving young, urban communities through outreach and education that celebrates contemporary language and culture.

In each of its Festival cities, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco, The Hip Hop Theater Festival presents live events created by artists who stretch, invent and combine a variety of theatrical forms, including theater, dance, spoken word and live music sampling. Through open submissions and aggressive curating both nationally and internationally, the Hip Hop Theater Festival is fully dedicated to finding, developing and introducing to the public new artistic creations from a diversity of cultures and points of view.

An ongoing goal of Hip Hop Theater Festival is to encourage the manifestation of Hip Hop Theater as a recognized genre by commissioning and developing new work and helping Hip Hop Theater Festival artists build coalitions, collaborations and networks with other artists and institutions around the United States and the world.

Hip Hop Theater Festival also strives to bring new, younger audiences to the theater in large numbers, in an effort to ensure the future of live performance. To this end, Hip Hop Theater Festival is steadfast in presenting work that is accessible to everyone, regardless of race, class, age or gender. And through a creative mix of traditional marketing techniques and guerilla tactics, the Festival has enjoyed sold-out houses, educational workshops and previews filled to capacity.

Watch Past Performances

Video 7/12/2017: The Bitter Game

Five acts structured as the four quarters and overtime of a basketball game, The Bitter Game explores the experience of being Black in America through the relationship between a young man and his mother. Based on the playwright/actor Keith A. Wallace’s youth in Philadelphia, this multi- character performance tackles issues ranging from police violence, to coping with Trauma, to the value of Black Lives.

Presented in collaboration with Hi-ARTS and the 2017 Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Please be advised this performance contains strong language and mature content.

Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Hall of States starting at approximately 5 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Video 7/11/2017: The Bitter Game

Five acts structured as the four quarters and overtime of a basketball game, The Bitter Game explores the experience of being Black in America through the relationship between a young man and his mother. Based on the playwright/actor Keith A. Wallace’s youth in Philadelphia, this multi- character performance tackles issues ranging from police violence, to coping with Trauma, to the value of Black Lives.

Presented in collaboration with Hi-ARTS and the 2017 Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Please be advised this performance contains strong language and mature content.

Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Hall of States starting at approximately 5 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Video 7/10/2017: Syncing Ink

“Now what you hear is not a test/I’m rapping to the beat!” Gordon wants to learn how to rap, thinking it will gain him respect, admiration, and the attention of a beautiful woman. What he doesn’t know is that his journey to learn how to rhyme will take him not just deeper into Hip Hop, but deeper into his legacy and his purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam leads us on a lyrical ride to discover what it really takes to freestyle. Directed by Niegel Smith, Artistic Director of New York’s Flea Theater.

Presented in collaboration with Hi-ARTS and the 2017 Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Please be advised this performance contains explicit language and mature content.

Video 7/6/2017: Truthworker: Boxed In & Blacked Out In America

Marking the time we are living in with poignant reflection, protest, and vision, Truthworker Theatre Company will perform excerpts from their provocative three-part body of work Truthworker: Boxed in & Blacked Out in America which depicts the prison industrial complex through the lens of a dozen youth directly impacted by mass incarceration. This trilogy, comprised of original hip-hop theatre productions, moves from the school-to-prison pipeline and youth criminalization, through the impacts and practices of solitary confinement, and into re-entry upon release.

Presented in collaboration with Hi-ARTS and the 2017 Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Please note this performance is suitable for ages 14 and up.

Video 7/8/2015: Spiritrials

Intersects addiction, religion, and the law in a government-sponsored drug rehabilitation program. In this timely and personal exploration of the criminal justice system, an “anonymous” narrator shifts in-and-out of four characters as he examines his place in what appears to be a cultural rite of passage. This program contains mature themes and strong language. Part of D.C. Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the States Gallery starting at approximately 5:30 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Video 7/6/2015: Hip-Hop Theater Festival: Ballon the Oomph That Keeps You There

Uses theater, spoken word, music, and movement to journey through Washington, D.C’s changing neighborhoods and historic communities’ ventures. Through this multidisciplinary exploration, we discover the effects of gentrification and what it takes to survive it. Part of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival.

Hip Hop Theater Festival