‘Black Nativity’ opening night reception at Anacostia Playhouse

"Black Nativity" is part of Julia Robey Christian's is leading a bold new second season of socially conscious, thought provoking productions designed to engage the community and act as a catalyst for neighborhood change.

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Theater Alliance movers and shakers.
DC Theater Alliance Board Director Al Bready, President Julia Robey Christian, Director Pat Martin and Producing Artistic Director Colin Hovde. (Photo: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

WASHINGTON, December 24, 2014 – Founded as part of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in 1993 as the sole theater-in-residence of the H Street Playhouse, the Theater Alliance made a strategic move just over a year ago by relocating to the Anacostia Playhouse under the leadership of Adele Robey and Julia Robey Christian.

Now serving as the President of the board of directors, Ms. Christian is leading a bold new second season of socially conscious, thought provoking productions that are designed to engage the community and act as a catalyst for change. Exhibit 1 is the Alliance’s exciting new version of “Black Nativity,” Langston Hughes’ venerable musical drama dating from the 1930s.

The new production opened earlier this month and will be performed at the Anacostia Playhouse through the first week of January, 2015. Members of the Theater Alliance board, the audience, and the press gathered after “Black Nativity’s” opening night to celebrate both the play and the Alliance’s continued success at its new venue.

Audience Services Director Ella Davis and Managing Director Elliott Bales cheerfully host an Open Bar. (Photo: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)
Audience Services Director Ella Davis and Managing Director Elliott Bales cheerfully host an Open Bar. (Photo: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Colin Hovde and managing Director Elliot Bales, the Theater Alliance embraces a community development and revitalization model of local engagement that includes a “Hothouse” new play reading series that will run through the upcoming month of February, 2015.


The new year’s “Hothouse” readings will include “Black Superman” by Bob Bartlett (February 2), “Night Falls on the Blue Planet” by Kathleen Akerley (February 9), “Anacostia Street Lions” by Terrance Chisholm (February 16), and “Gimme” by Katherine Clair (February 23).

In addition to the new readings series, Alliance has positioned the Anacostia Playhouse as an integral part of the neighborhood by hosting local bands, solo performers, storytellers and children’s programming in addition to encouraging artists of all genres to use the space.

To enable and broaden its efforts, the Theater Alliance has managed to maintain their historic connection to Capitol Hill by maintaining its diverse base of business and patron support, thanks at least in part to the completion of the new 11th Street Bridge project, one result of which is to drop visitors a block or two from the theater, which is located at the foot of Good Hope Road and M. L. King, Jr. Avenue SE. At the same time, the Alliance is growing its audience by establishing string new relationships with their new neighbors in Anacostia and across wards 7 and 8 East-of-The-River.

Managing Director Elliott Bales and Anacostia resident and activist Phil Pannel share some holiday cheer. (Photo: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)
Managing Director Elliott Bales and Anacostia resident and activist Phil Pannel share some holiday cheer. (Photo: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

Those enjoying the “Black Nativity” after-party were enthusiastic about the current venue’s success and continuing possibilities. Indeed, as the new year dawns, the future certainly does look bright for the Theater Alliance in their new Anacostia Playhouse digs.

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