Black Voices: Our Stories, Our Lives - 26th Annual AfroSolo Arts Festival June 17-30, 2021
A Juneteenth Celebration - Courage Under Fire: The Liberation of Elroy - Now on YouTube
Created and produced by Thomas Robert Simpson, the Festival's mission is to nurture, promote, and present facets of the African American experience through solo performances and the visual arts. An award-winning actor, director, producer, and writer, Mr. Simpson has used AfroSolo's Community Engagement program to focus on essential issues in the Black community: health, justice, and education.
Courage Under Fire: The Liberation of Elroy Is a story of being Black in America. It's about family, race, politics, and redemption. Performed by Simpson, it explores the life of his father, Elroy Simpson and Elroy's journey from the snares of Jim Crow's insanity to his personal enlightenment. Simpson recounts how his father overcame many struggles as a Black man raising a family in the South. He traces four generations of the Simpson family to celebrate Elroy's liberation and its significance on those around him.
Directed by Rodney Earl Jackson, Courage Under Fire: The Liberation of Elroy is a multimedia theater work based on text, video, and projections. Dramaturg, Felirene Bongolan and Drama Therapist, Lance McGee. (Photo by Charles Michael Ballestamon.)
"…we are standing in the light: and, if in this light, which is both loving and merciless, we are able to confront ourselves, we are liberated…" -- James Baldwin
In Program One, posted June 9-13, Black Men: Embracing Our Light (BMEOL) explored the Black male experience within the Prison Industrial Complex. Black men have made up a disproportionate number of incarcerated people in the United States. BMEOL provided an opportunity for some of those affected by the industry to give voice to their experience. Four formerly incarcerated Black men told personal stories of their time in prison and of their redemption, recovery and return to fulfilling lives.
AfroSolo Theatre Company's mission is to nurture, promote, and present African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and the visual arts. Founded in San Francisco in 1993 by Thomas Robert Simpson, AfroSolo has provided a forum to give an authentic voice to the diverse experiences of Black people in the Americas. Through art, we bring people of different ethnicities together to explore and share the human spirit that binds us all. (www.afrosolosf.org)
Interviews with Mr. Simpson are available by arrangement.