The Flea’s Juneteenth Public Performance Symposium
Moderated by Nia Witherspoon
Please join moderator Nia Witherspoon and commissioned artists James Scruggs, Chanon Judson, Ebony Noelle Golden, Tomik Dash, and Niegel Smith for a 2022 Juneteenth Public Performances Symposium. This Symposium will offer a deeper exploration of each artist’s unique approach to Juneteenth as a prompt for their creative work.
Come hear about the creative process, the intersection of performance and public life, and all the ways liberation can play out street by street in our beautiful city.
ABOUT NIA WITHERSPOON
Nia Witherspoon is a Black Queer theatre maker, vocalist and composer, and cultural worker investigating the metaphysics of Black liberation, desire, and diaspora, in the context of sacred ecologies. Described as “especially fascinating” by Backstage Magazine, and featured by NPR for her curation of BlackARTSMatter, Witherspoon is NEFA/ NTP recipient, a Creative Capital Awardee, a Jerome New Artist Fellow, an artist in residence at HERE Arts Center and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and was a 2017-18 2050 Playwriting/Directing Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop. Her works, MESSIAH, YOU MINE, THE DARK GIRL CHRONICLES, and PRIESTESS OF TWERK have been or will be featured by The Shed, JACK, La Mama ETC, Playwright’s Realm, BRIC, HERE, National Black Theatre, BAAD, Movement Research, BAX, Dixon Place, Painted Bride, 651 Arts, and elsewhere. Witherspoon has been recognized by the Mellon Foundation, NYFA, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Lambda Literary, and Theatre Bay Area, and most recently NEFA/NTP. She holds a BA from Smith College and a PhD from Stanford University in Theatre and Performance Studies, and her writing is published in the Journal of Popular Culture; Imagined Theatres; Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance; and IMANIMAN: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands. Witherspoon has held tenure-track professorships at Florida State University and Arizona State University, taught at Fordham and University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled NATION IN THE DARK: A Black femme spell for justice.
JUNETEENTH PUBLIC PERFORMANCE COMMISSIONS
Join us June 11–19 throughout New York on a journey towards Black liberation and a celebration of Black joy, dreams, experiences, queerness, resistance, and more. Featuring new works by Ebony Noelle Golden, James Scruggs, Chanon Judson, Niegel Smith, and the Mx. Juneteenth Fire Island Drag Pageant by the Black and Brown Equity Coalition of Fire Island (BaBEC), this year’s Juneteenth public programming is distinct, daring, and engaging.
About The Flea’s Juneteenth Public Performance Program
The Flea’s Juneteenth Public Performance Program is also part of the Festival of New York, a growing collective of 200+ organizations across the five boroughs collaborating to marshal the creativity, resiliency, diversity, and spirit of collaboration that makes New York one of the strongest and most inspiring cities on earth.
The Juneteenth Public Performance Program was piloted by The Flea in 2021 to great success and commissioned and premiered four new public performances: Chanon Judson’s Time’s Up A Liberation Ritual, a new participatory dance piece in Fulton Park of Bed Stuy; James Scruggs’ Ask Me About Juneteenth, where an unusual character offered cotton blooms and cash to viewers willing to engage others in a frank conversation about race; Imani Uzuri’s Jus’ Like A Tree Planted By Water, a performance of experimental interpolations of African American spirituals in Harlem; and, Artistic Director Niegel Smith’s The Worthy, a celebratory walk for justice and Black men from the African Burial Ground to The Flea theater uplifting our souls.