Curated by Craig muMs Grant and Lauren Whitehead, Conscious Language features five days of events building the bridge between poets and theater makers and how they can use their words to create a socially conscious theater of language. The festival featured a 5-day generative workshop for poets on turning poetry into theater which culminated in the staged reading of six new 10-minute poetic plays the evening of Saturday, August 29th at the Wild Project theater in New York’s East Village. Evening panels and performances showcased leaders in the hip hop, poetry and theater communities.
August 25-29th, 2015
6:30PM Wednesday, August 26th: The Conscious ARTIST SUMMIT â€” A gathering for conscious artists throughout the city to celebrate and talk about the current status of conscious art and its future and to kick off Conscious Language.
7PM Thursday, August 27th: The Conscious BODYâ€“ A panel focused on questions concerning how and what the body can communicate when used as the primary vehicle for art. What does the image of our body in the world relate to how we live and express our art?
Panelists: Mahogany L. Browne (HBO’s â€œBrave New Voicesâ€, REDbone: A Biomythography with Poetic Theater Productions), Shakina Nayfack (One Woman Show at Joe’s Pub, 2015 Lily Award Winner) and Jason Samuels Smith (Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk, Idlewild, â€œSo You Think You Can Danceâ€, â€œDancing With the Starsâ€), Jacinta Vlach (Liberation Dance Theater).
7PM Friday, August 28th: The Conscious LYRICS â€” A panel exploration into the importance of lyrics in language based art forms. How do the views and ideas expressed in music(lyrics) â€“ particularly Hip Hop â€“ influence the community in 2015? The evening featured musical performances and a panel including Mikal Amin f/k/a The Hired Gun (Fresh Roots Music, Re:Education and Say Word Entertainment), Toni Blackman (Hip Hop Artist Ambassador), Baba Israel (Boom Bap Meditations), Abena Koomson (FELA!, Van Davis), and Miles Marshall Lewis (Arts & Culture Editor at Ebony.com, author:Â Irresistible, There’s A Riot Goin’ On). The Conscious LYRICS panel will be moderated by Craig ‘muMs’ Grant (HBO’s â€œOZâ€, Paradox of the Urban ClichÃ©Â with Poetic Theater Productions, A Sucker Emcee with Labyrinth).
7PM Saturday, August 29th: The Conscious Language IN PRACTICE panel discussion of varying definitions as to what it means to be a Conscious Artist. What â€“ if any â€“ responsibilities do we have to the greater community?
Panelists: Raquel Almazan (La Paloma Prisoner, Death of the Doll), Rasu Jilani (MAPP International Productions), Kyoung H. Park (Sex and Hunger, disOriented), and Liza Jessie Peterson (The Peculiar Patriot, Love the Hard Way, Bamboozled).
Performances of six short plays created in the Conscious Language Workshop:
â€œThe Stoopâ€ by Mahlaney Wilson
Makeda Abraham, Jake Choi, Tamara Geisler and Colista K. Turner
directed by Katherine George
â€œThe Music of Our Kindâ€ by Nkosi Nkululeko
Xandra Clark and Stacey Dotson
directed by Dennis A. Allen II
Lighting & video by David Jonathan Palmer
Artwork by Jennie West, SiENiDE, BOM5, Dennesa USHER and Kate Fauvell
Festival Producers: Jennie West and Adam Wennick
Event Photos by Hunter Canning (huntercanningphoto.com)
Art Photos by Jeremy Karafin
Workshop Photos by Savvy Dup