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Announcing the Sterling Houston Festival!

May 27, 2022

Special Collections is proud to be a participant and partner in the inaugural Sterling Houston Festival taking place June 4 – June 19, 2022, at various venues throughout San Antonio. The Festival will include performances of Houston’s plays, workshops, panels, social events, and a week-long playwriting camp for teens. Special Collections will curate special pop-up exhibits of material from Sterling Houston’s archives throughout the two-week festival. The Sterling Houston Papers, housed at UTSA Special Collections, document Houston’s involvement in San Antonio theater through his scripts, screenplays, programs, and press materials. Also included are correspondence, research materials, project files, photographs, and audiovisual materials.

Sterling Houston, Houston, TX 1998.

Sterling Houston (1945-2006) was an African American playwright, actor, author, and musician for more than thirty years. His work explored themes of Black and gay identity and gave voice to marginalized communities. Throughout his career, he wrote over thirty plays and four novels/novellas.

The organizations comprising the Sterling Houston Planning Collective are Carver Community Cultural Center, Creative Circuit Studios, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Gemini Ink Writing Arts Center, Jump Start Performance Co., Magik Theatre, Teatro Anasi, The Classic Theatre, UTSA Libraries Special Collections and Urban-15.

The festival line-up includes:

June 4 at 7:00 pm–Carver Community Cultural Center: Opening reception and a performance of Black Lily/White Lily, one of Houston’s shorter plays examining racial and social inequities in the 1950’s. Immediately following the play, there will be a conversation with friend and creative collaborator, Steve Bailey, partner Arnold April, and Sterling’s brother, Gary Houston. The conversation will be moderated by writer Cary Clack. Visit www.thecarver.org for more information. The event is free and open to the public.

June 9 at 7:00 pm – Gemini Ink will present a dramatic reading of Black and Blue: 400 Years of Struggle and Transcendence at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. One of Houston’s seminal works chronicling the African American journey pairs historical figures and moments, words of Dr. Martin Luther King, vocals and music. After the reading, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A exploring the significance and impact of Houston and his body of work. Panelists include Dr. Sandra Mayo, Antoinette Winstead, Nan Cuba and Danielle King. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Charles Gentry. Visit Gemini Ink for more information. The event is free and open to the public.

June 11 at 7:00 pm – The Classic Theatre of San Antonio will produce TheatreNOW, a 24-hour play festival-within-the-festival, inspired by Sterling Houston’s participation with the Theatre ASAP project formerly hosted by San Antonio Theatre Coalition. TheatreNOW will engage close to 40 different artists to present 5 ten-minute plays that will be written, rehearsed, and presented to a live audience within one, fast-paced, 24-hour period. TheatreNOW will be held at Northeast Lakeview College Performing Arts Center at 1202 Kitty Hawk Rd, 78148. Please visit www.ClassicTheatre.org for more information and event reservations. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration.

June 13-17 – Magik Theatre will host a week-long playwriting camp for teens entitled “Myth, Magic, and Farce: The Vision of Sterling Houston”. Drawing upon themes and inspiration in Houston’s body of work, students will share their unique voices and stories through the creation of short, original pieces. Selected works will be showcased at pre-show readings prior to performances of Le Griffon. Camp runs June 13-17, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Tuition is $300 per student. Scholarships are available. For more information or to register, visit http://www.magiktheatre.org.

June 17-18 at 8:00 pm, 3p.m. matinee June 19 – Jump Start Performance Company will mount a revival of Sterling Houston’s play Le Griffon. Based on Houston’s novella of the same title, Le Griffon is set in early 1800s New Orleans and reinterprets the classic tale of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. A “creature” is created by a white doctor using body parts from free and enslaved men of color. Steve Bailey, who directed the premiere of Le Griffon at Jump-Start Theatre in 2000, returns to San Antonio to direct and reimagine this feature production of the festival. Performances are at the Little Carver Theatre located at the Carver Community Cultural Center on June 17-19, 2022. Ticketing information and more detail available at http://www.jump-start.org.

Visit www.sterlinghoustonfestival.com to stay up-to-date on these featured events and other festival offerings.

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