CLASSIX, a collective founded by theater director Awoye Timpo, has created a new podcast series, (re)clamation, an intervention in the current conversation around theater history. This podcast, developed as part of CLASSIX’s residency at Theater for a New Audience, refocuses and elevates black writers and storytellers in American theater – both famous and forgotten. Each act of the podcast will explore a different era or theme in black theater history through interviews, conversations, and snippets of first-hand accounts.
(re)clamation is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud. Episode 1: The Georgia Minstrels (1864-1878) is available now.
The podcast will launch with Act 1: Black Performance in the Era of Minstrelsy. Hosted by performer Brittany Bradford (“Julia” on HBO Max, Fefu and Her Friends and Wedding Band at Theater for a New Audience), this act takes us on a six-part journey from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, following the artists, writers and producers of this underexplored era – their triumphs, their challenges and the spectacles they created. In this week’s episode, the journey begins with an exploration of one of the first successful black minstrel troupes, the Georgia Minstrels, and the careers it launched, in particular that of its leader, Charles B. Hicks.
The podcast features interviews with acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens, prominent scholar and writer Ayanna Thompson, NYU professor and scholar Michael Dinwiddie, and performer and writer Susheel Bibbs. The episodes were written and researched by Bradford and fellow CLASSIX team members AJ Muhammad, Dominique Rider, Arminda Thomas and Awoye Timpo and include a theme song by composer and trumpeter Alphonso Horne as well as original music by trombonist Jeffery Miller . Sound design and editing are by Twi McCallum and Aubrey Dube.
(re)clamation was made possible by a commission from Theater for a New Audience (Founding Artistic Director, Jeffrey Horowitz and Executive Director, Dorothy Ryan) as part of the CLASSIX-Theatre for a New Audience residency. The residency also included the critically acclaimed 2022 production of Alice Childress’ Wedding Band at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.
For more information on the (re)claim and other CLASSIX projects, please visit www.theclassix.org.