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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


Administrative Assistant Opening in NPN’s National Office

Posted: Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 1:49 pm in Job Announcements

The National Performance Network, a national, non-profit arts organization based in New Orleans, seeks a full-time administrative assistant.  The position requires strong organizational, administrative and communication abilities, and excellent oral, written and computer skills.  Arts administration experience preferred.

For more job details, download the job description here.

Salary: $28,000-30,000. The position offers benefits (flexible environment, vacation, health, dental, 403(b) plan).

Submit letter of interest, resume, and references via e-mail to: by September 13, 2013. Position available October 1, 2013.

The National Performance Network (NPN) provides equal employment opportunity to all persons without regard to social and economic background, political affiliation or belief, race, color, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, mental or physical disability, national origin, current and/or former service member status, sexual orientation, health status, age, physical characteristics or marital status, and promotes the full implementation of this policy through a positive, continuing program of outreach. NPN actively encourages applications by all interested people who meet the above requirements.

E-Newsletter / August 2013

Posted: Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 12:33 pm in E-Newsletters

E-Newsletter / July 2013

Posted: Monday, July 29th, 2013 at 11:41 am in E-Newsletters

E-Newsletter / June 2013

Posted: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at 11:21 am in E-Newsletters

New Orleans Hosts One of 40 El Sistema Projects in the U.S.

Posted: Monday, June 24th, 2013 at 6:55 pm in News

YOL9W_Fall2012-002-boy-withDedication, commitment, passion, hard work, consistency — and let’s not forget love, fun, family, and community. These are values that define the daily work and program structure of the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward (YOL9W). Founded on passion, driven by love and sweat equity, and aimed at breaking the poverty cycle, the program began with five students in September 2011 in a converted Walgreens on the corner of St. Claude and Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Now there are 42 students (with a waiting list), in only two short years.

YOL9W is modeled after the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System, El Sistema, which produced Gustavo Dudamel (current conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Edicson Ruiz, the youngest member of the Berlin Philharmonic. El Sistema was founded in 1975 and based on the principal that music can be used as a vehicle for social change. YOL9W is currently one of over forty El Sistema inspired programs across the U.S. For thirty weeks each year, students attend hour-long music classes four days a week. Highly qualified teachers work with small groups of students on scales, repertoire, technique, and the fundamentals of reading music. In one year, the students have performed eight public concerts at local music venues, church services, and Tulane and Loyola University. Currently, the program enrolls students ages five to fourteen. All YOL9W students live in the Upper 9th Ward, the Lower 9th Ward, and the 7th Ward. In addition to daily instrumental music lessons, the students also receive a healthy dinner and a half hour of homework help.

Although the program is called a “youth orchestra” the name is actually quite deceiving; YOL9W is not a training program for classical music. The program’s repertoire is selected and arranged for strings (violins, cellos, and basses) from traditional New Orleans’ tunes, spirituals, hymns, and the music of local composers. The staff and board continue to build a program that teaches young people about New Orleans’ music and the importance of their culture and local traditions. This year, the students performed “I’ll Fly Away,” “Saints Go Marching In,” and “Iko Iko.” YOL9W students have had the opportunity to work with a bassist from Preservation Hall, a jazz violinist, and several other outstanding local musicians.

In addition to teaching music, the program aims to create a community among its students, faculty, staff, and volunteers. YOL9W teachers frequently take their students to outside performances, stay late to have dinner with the kids, and show up on their days off to celebrate holidays and birthdays. As the program continues to grow and progress, YOL9W will strive to create an environment in which its students stay motivated and strive for excellence. Centered in “blighted” neighborhoods in the 9th Wards, YOL9W offers kids a safe environment and a positive way to channel their energy. By creating opportunities, training competent musicians, and inspiring students to achieve their full potential, the YOL9W staff and board hope to see personal and musical growth throughout the years. Next school year, YOL9W plans to partner with the Sarasota Orchestra to send ten students to their three-week camp in Florida, host musicians from Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and send several students to New York in partnership with Operation Southern Comfort and the Tri-Valley YMCA.

More information on the program is available at:

YOL9W Todd fans check

YOL9W recently had a visit from musician/producer Todd Rundgren and some of his “Fan Family” who donated $10,000 to YOL9W in honor of Todd’s 65th birthday.

E-Newsletter / May 2013

Posted: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 3:33 pm in E-Newsletters

US/LINKS Teleconference – May 20

Posted: Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 7:25 pm in Opportunities

Capitalizing on its expertise in managing multiple grant programs, NPN has been asked to administer US/LINKS, a program of travel and residency grants offered by two national organizations seeking to increase knowledge and opportunities for the free flow of artists and ideas. Supporting Diverse Arts Spaces (SDAS), funded by the Ford Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC)’s Space for Change organizations, and individual professional visual and performing U.S.-based artists supported or commissioned by these organizations may apply for the curatorial/research travel grants or 3-5 week Creative Exchange Residencies.

Ahead of the June 2 deadline, a second informational teleconference has been scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. EDT — Call-in: (218) 339-2500; Code: 569956


E-Newsletter / April 2013

Posted: Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 10:29 am in E-Newsletters

NET Hosts MicroFest USA in Honolulu

Posted: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 5:17 pm in Field News, Opportunities

National Summit and Learning Exchange, June 13-18, 2013

Sunrise and sunset performances, graffiti artists, stories of radical arts-based political action – the MicroFest is a journey across the island of Oahu. Beginning in Honolulu, the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) will explore this urban environment, bridging the local and national through performances and conversations, ending with a group retreat to the rural North Shore for reflection and sharing.

This National Summit & Learning Exchange is the culmination of the MicroFest USA series, asking: “How does art impact your community?” and bringing together local and national participants to share success stories, challenges, inspirations, and questions about art-based community development. We invite you to be a part of this national conversation about art-based community development. Read some of the case studies and reflections of the three MicroFests here (

Registration is currently open and includes five days of housing, most meals, local ground transportation, and programming. Travel subsidies are available for NET members – Yes, you can join NET now and apply for the subsidy! (

For questions contact: Ashley Sparks, MicroFest USA Event Coordinator at


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