Future of African-American theater topic of upcoming discussion series

Stewart GoldsteinRon Himes in *King Hedley II* (2006)Can African-American theater survive? In recent years, several leading African-American companies have been forced to cut staff, cancel seasons or close their doors entirely. “We’ve lost a half-dozen of the larger companies,” says Ron Himes, founder and producing director of The St. Louis Black Repertory Company and the Henry E. Hampton Jr. Artist-in-Residence in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. “Nobody seems to quite understand why.” More…

Rediscovering the Black Artists’ Group

Courtesy photoOliver LakeIn the mid- and late 1960s, the Black Arts Movement emerged as the aesthetic and spiritual corollary to the Black Power philosophy. In St. Louis, Black Artists’ Group (BAG), which flourished between 1968 and 1972, gave rise to a host of nationally recognized figures, including Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett of the World Saxophone Quartet. Today, this influential yet little-known collective is undergoing a resurgence of interest, with the reissue of rare BAG recordings on the Ikef, Quakebasket and Atavistic record labels; a new definitive history published by the Missouri Historical Society Press; and an upcoming sypmosium at Washington University in St. Louis.