National Performance Network > Field News > Talkin’ Revolution
October 17-20, 2013

Talkin’ Revolution
October 17-20, 2013

Posted: Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 10:34 am in Field News, Member & Partner Announcements

Honoring and Remembering the Free Southern Theater 1963-1980, a part of America’s History

October 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Southern Theater, the organizational predecessor to Junebug Productions. Talkin’ Revolution is a historic four-day gathering of artists, activists, and educators coming together to celebrate and honor the 50-year legacy of Free Southern Theater as carried forward by Junebug Productions and others. Join us as we gather for panel discussions, presentations and performances to reflect on the historic and present day impact of Free Southern Theater.

For more information please email or visit their website



A block of rooms has been reserved at the Cotton Exchange Hotel, which is less than a 15 minute walk from the Contemporary Arts Center.  Please call the hotel to make reservation at the following numbers and check out their website for more information.

“FST 50th Reunion” is the code used for all participants to be included in our special group rate.

Local: 504-962-0700
Toll Free: 866-247-8271
Cotton Exchange Hotel
221 Carondelet Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Confirmed Speakers & Performers

Free Southern Theater Founders and Members
John O’Neal, Dr. Doris Derby, Kalamu ya Salaam, Chakula Cha Jua, Quo Vadis Gex Breaux, Frozine Thomas

Artists/Cultural Organizers
Dudley Cocke (Roadside Theater), Linda Parris-Bailey (Carpetbag Theatre), Carlton Turner (Alternate ROOTS), Amara Tabor-Smith (Urban Bush Women), Wendi O’Neal, Frederick ”Hollywood” Delahoussaye, Progress Theatre, Junebug Productions

Jerry Ward, Dillard University; Jan Cohen-Cruz, Syracuse University; James Smethurst, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Felipe Smith, Tulane University;  Catherine Michna, Tulane University

Schedule for the Weekend


New Orleans Artist Showcase
7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Avenue

Showcasing a new generation of New Orleans artists influenced by FST & Junebug Productions, featuring “Michaela Harrison and Friends”


Free Southern Theater Roundtables
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tulane University
$40, includes lunch

FST Beginnings
FST founders and members will discuss the theater’s early years in Mississippi and its role as the cultural arm of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and early debates about integration and aesthetics, including the theater’s controversial decision to move to New Orleans.

FST’s Impact on Black Art: from the 1960s to Today
How did the rise of the FST shift conversations about African American theatre and dramatic writing in the early 1960s?  In what ways does the legacy of the FST and related Black Arts movement theaters continue to impact African American writing and performance today?

Women in FST and the Civil Rights Movement
Women of FST will come together with women working in the civil rights and Black Arts movements to share their memories, accomplishments, aesthetics, and struggles.

Free Southern Theater & Junebug Productions Gala
8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street

An evening honoring FST founders John O’Neal and Dr. Doris Derby and alumni performances by Amara Tabor-Smith of Urban Bush Women, Junebug Productions, Progress Theater, Frederick “Hollywood” Delahoussaye and others followed by a reception


Fishbowl Conversation:  FST alumni and Younger Generations of Cultural Organizers
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Breakfast
10:00 a.m. – 12 noon – Fishbowl Conversation
12:00 noon – 1:15 p.m. – Lunch
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
$40, includes breakfast & lunch

This conversation will consist of two circles and multiple generations of artists working in the FST’s legacy. The inner circle will feature FST alumni from each of the theater’s “generations” who will speak about the theater’s impact on their lives, careers, and communities. Artists, cultural workers, students, and teachers are encouraged to sit down in the outer circle to ask questions and hear the stories and ideas that the FST alumni have to share.

Civil Rights Tour
1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Begins and ends at Ashé Cultural Arts Center
$30, includes bus transportation

This bus tour through historically black neighborhoods of Central City and Tremé will highlight the sites and stories of individuals and organizations who made great contributions to the civil right movements.

Doris Derby Photo Exhibit Reception
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
McKenna Museum of African American Art, 2003 Carondelet Street

Amid the violence and injustice of the civil rights movement, FST founder Dr. Doris Derby’s photographs focused on the organizing efforts of African Americans. “I was documenting not only the political side, but the economic, the educational, and the artistic side that complemented the political. And I wanted to make sure that the self-empowerment activities that the communities were involved in were documented.”


Story Circle, Community Sing & Networking Lunch
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
$40, includes lunch

The history, practice and uses of the story circle process will be presented.  Participants are invited to share stories of how they have been impacted by Free Southern Theater, Junebug Productions and this weekend’s convening. Following in the tradition of the civil rights movement, the convening will close with a community sing featuring songs of the movement. Followed by a networking lunch with local social justice organizations


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