About – Colored People's Theatre

The official blog for the Colored People's Theatre Collective. CPT, founded circa 2010, is a theatre collective whose mission is to explore, challenge and impact how race and diversity are seen on stage. As theatre professionals, we realize that theatre is not created in a vacuum; it is a collaborative entity. Everyone involved (marketing, artistic, ticket sales, community engagement, development, etc.) is responsible for shaping the work that is ultimately produced on stage. Additionally, once a work has been presented on stage, the audience can shape, interpret, and tailor the work to fit their sensibilities. Our goal is to address how both audiences and those who make theatre, see race and diversity and how that impacts the final product.

Brought to you by Colored People's Theatre

  1. Tickets on sale now!!!

    Grab your tickets today!!!

    Tickets for the first production in Colored People’s Theatre history are on sale now!

    Grab your’s HERE!!!!

    Don’t wait too long, there may not be any tickets left!!!

  2. Revelations (FCG…)

    Lil Sister, Big Mama, Lil Sister, Big Mama. Oh man how deep we wear the colors of our rainbow. The rehearsal last night wore such an intensely different color for me. This process and journey carries with it the roller coaster that is expected when doing such roles. Yet I find myself in and out of conciousness while finding the character(s); Both present and not present. Afraid to leap yet even more afraid to not be in its’ truth.

    I’m memorizing, discovering, and quite honestly trying to stay out of judgement. Self judgement. But rather enjoy each revelation. Enjoy the journey.

    I fell asleep last night, not aware of my exaustion- physically, mentally and spiritually. I awoke this morning with “orange butterflies” ensconsed in my brain. So I work, so I am ready & as I ready,…I ready some more!!-)

    My Poem

    Lil sister, Big mama, Lil sister, Big mama

    I want you to know

    I hear your secrets

    I feel your drama

    Lil Sister, Lil Sister

    I want you to know

    I want you to know

    I ‘ve been around that mister

    Lil Sister, Big Mama, Lil Sister, Big Mama

    I wanna know who

    I wanna know you

    Big Mama, Big Mama, Big Mama, Big Mama

    I wanna know you

    I wanna know you

    I want to know You.


    aka Lady in Red

  3. Libations for Audre Lorde

    In preparation of our upcoming production of Ntozake Shange’s critically acclaimed choreo-poem for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf I have dived head first into the writing of Black feminist.  From Sojourner Truth to Angela Davis I have been trying to educate myself on the pedagogy of the movement, but the writer who has most captivated me is Audre Lorde.  In honor of this fallen soldier, I would like to share one of her poems that moved me and I think speaks to what Shange’s work tries to accomplish.

    A Litany For Survival¹
    Audre Lorde

    For those of us who live at the shoreline
    standing upon the constant edges of decision
    crucial and alone
    for those of us who cannot indulge
    the passing dreams of choice
    who love in doorways coming and going
    in the hours between dawns
    looking inward and outward
    at once before and after
    seeking a now that can breed
    like bread in our children’s mouths
    so their dreams will not reflect
    the death or ours;

    For those of us
    who were imprinted with fear
    like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
    learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
    for by this weapon
    this illusion of some safety to be found
    the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
    For all of us
    this instant and this triumph
    We were never meant to survive.

    And when the sun rises we are afraid
    it might not remain
    when the sun sets we are afraid
    it might not rise in the morning
    when our stomachs are full we are afraid
    of indigestion
    when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
    we may never eat again
    when we are loved we are afraid
    love will vanish
    when we are alone we are afraid
    our words will not be heard
    nor welcomed
    bet when we are silent
    we are still afraid.

    So it is better to speak
    we were never meant to survive.


    Joshua DeMinter
    Letters from the Underground

    1.    Audre Lorde, “A Litany for Survival,” The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde.  (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997) 255-256.

  4. Talib Kweli, “Black Girl Pain,” rec. 2004, The Beautiful Struggle, Rawkes/Geffen, 2004.

    This just felt appropriate considering CPT will be producing Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf.

    Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls…
    This project is presented as part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival
    a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe
    A CPT Production
    Friday July 8 @ 6pm
    Saturday July 16 @ 9:30pm
    Thursday July 21 @ 6pm
    Saturday July 23 @ Noon
    Sunday July 24 @ 8:30pm
    All Performances at Studio Theatre

    TICKETS: capitalfringe.org OR 866.811.4111

  5. What a first week!!!

    by Jamil Jude

    We just concluded the first week of work. Man I have to admit, these women right here have already taken my expectations to another level. I knew from the moment we set the cast that we’d have a really great company of actresses, but I didn’t expect they would come in so full of fire!

    Tuesday, May 31st was the day of the first read. From the word GO the cast took on the challenge of bringing Ntozake’s beautifully involved poetry to life. The energy in the room was so great. The few guests we had in the house reported back just how pleased they were they got to hear the work.

    We spent this week focusing on the poetry. Working with everyone individually, I had an opportunity to really build a relationship with the cast. Work like this takes A LOT of trust so it was important for us to get grounded in each other’s faith before moving to far.

    As we move on to the second week, we will start to incorporate more choreography and body expression into the monologues we’ve started to build. I’m VERY anxious to see how DeMoya’s vast knowledge of self and self-expression through body is going to enrich the work we’ve started to do.

    Look out DC! We are coming! See you on July 8th!!!

  6. You Know These Things Happen

    The world is not always a place of peace and plenty.  Despite our technological advances, our intellectual prowess, and our thirst for justice and equality, the world can still be a pretty fucked up place.   For the most part when bad things happen, we have a desire to distance ourselves from the traumatic experience in order to either process it or to suppress it.  What is more distressing, however, is when someone else intervenes not to liberate us but to further silence us in our trauma.  How often have you heard the phrases “you know these things just happen” or “it was just a misunderstanding” knowing full well that there was no misunderstanding or happenstance, but intentions deep and dark.  But what happens, when the hand in the night full of dark intentions belongs to someone you know?  Ntozake Shange’s seminal work for colored girl’s who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf explores this very notion and how it pertains to the rape of women of color.

    The lady in red tells us:

    a rapist is always to be a stranger
    to be legitimate
    someone you never saw
    a man wit obvious problems¹

    Or so we are thought.  The truth however is quite different.  According to surveys conducted by the Bureau of Justice, 38% of victims were raped by a friend or acquaintance, 28% by “an intimate” and 7% by another relative, and 26% were committed by a stranger to the victim. About four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim’s own home.  Though not an insignificant number, only ¼ of reported rape cases were perpetrated by a stranger.  In the remaining 75% of reported cases the victim knew their attacker.²



    Let that number sit with you.  

    What is more staggering is that these numbers only reflect the number of reported cases of rape.  In the United States alone, 60% of instances of rape go unreported.  Out of those cases that are reported only 50.8% of them end in arrest and only 58% percent of those cases that make it to trial end in conviction.  Nearly ⅓ of those individuals convicted of rape avoid facing any jail time.  When you factor in under-reporting, the inherent difficulties of prosecution, and the number of individuals who avoid jail time you wind up with only 16% of the reported 40% of cases of rape ending with conviction and time served.    

    In another light, only 6% of all instances of rape actually with the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of the perpetrator.  
    Going back to Shange’s work, we are given a little insight into why so few cases make it to trial in the first place:

    if you’ve been seen in public wit him
    danced one dance
    kissed him good-bye lightly

    wit closed mouth

    pressin charges will be as hard
    as keepin yr legs closed
    while five fools try to run a train on you³

    For women (and men) who fall victim to sexual predators who wear the mask of friendship can often be as devastating an ordeal as the rape itself.  It is a violation of both body and spirit, of trust and faith, that is hard to face.  Many victims retreat or are forced to believe the lies of “if you know him / you must have wanted it” or “are you sure you didnt suggest” or the accusatory “hd you been drinking.”  Comments and questions designed to induce shame.4 

    Shange tells us otherwise and reveals the sleight of hand that is taking place.  Though her work was written in 1975, her words sadly still ring true.  “…it turns out the nature of rape has changed/ we can now meet them in circles we frequent for companionship/ we see them at the coffeehouse/ wit someone else we know/ we cd even have em over for dinner/ & get raped in our own houses/ by invitation…”5  

    Fortunately, every story need not end in sorrow and grief.  Though Shange reveals an ugly truth about our world she does not allow the darkness to go unchallenged.  Instead she gifts us with a tale that builds a rainbow from the darkness for those who been dead so long, closed in silence so long, they don’t know the sound of their own voices, infinitely beautiful.  We invite you to walk out of the darkness and to cross the rainbow and see what light exists on the other side.

    Joshua DeMinter
    Letters from the Underground
    1.    Ntozoke Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. 1st Collier Books ed (New York, NY: Scribner Poetry, 1997) 17.
    2.    “The Offenders: Rape Isn’t A Masked Stranger,” RAINN, 31 May 2011 <http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders>.
    3.    Ntozoke Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. 1st Collier Books ed (New York, NY: Scribner Poetry, 1997) 18.
    4.    Ibid, 17.
    5.    Ibid, 19.

  7. First Rehearsal!!

    Man this is an exciting time for CPT! 

    We are about to embark on our artistic journey. Our process begins tomorrow, Tuesday, May 31. The wonderfully talented, amazingly beautiful ensemble cast of CPT’s for colored girls who considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf will breathe life back into this seminal work in the canon of American Theatre. 

    Find out more about this play here.

    Continue to come back and check us out for updates on the process and sneak peeks on the work we are doing. If you want to get involved, email us! 

    Positive Vibrations.


    2 |

  8. Building a Reflective Ensemble

    by Jamil Jude

    As we finish up the casting for the show, I’ve tried really hard to build an ensemble that is reflective of the community around me and the type of community CPT is looking to represent. I must admit, the actresses that have made it to our short list are a little less ethnically diverse as we’d like, I am very proud of the age, size and life experience diversity we were able to accomplish.

    In addition to the people you will see on stage, I am also very excited at the designers and co-collaborators we are starting to bring together. Starting with my choreographer and stage manager, it is great to be on the same page as we embark on this work. I’m getting more excited as we inch closer to first rehearsal. This is going to be a great project and I can’t wait to bring it to audiences.

    Stay on the lookout! 

  9. Inaugural Newsletter

    Sent to our email list. If you’d like to subscribe, please email us at coloredpt@gmail.com

    Hello Friends and Supporters of CPT! Welcome to our first monthly newsletter, where you can find out all the information about CPT happenings around town and share your events and needs! This newsletter will hopefully become a place where you can find out about excellent work in the DC area, and a resource for you to turn to if you’re looking for support. 
    This month from CPT:


    In the Blood
    by Suzan-Lori Parks
    directed by Raymond O. Caldwell

    In The Blood tells the story of Hester and her five fatherless children living in poverty. She seeks the chance to get help from her children’s fathers, with hopes that one may come through. Hester struggles in this shocking tragedy based on The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. Featuring Nicole Brewer, Rafael Cuesta, S. Lewis Feemster, Baye Harrell, Lynette Rath…nam and Danielle A. Drakes as Hester. Recommended for age 13 and up.

    Mead Theatre Lab @ Flashpoint 916 G Street NW Washington, DC 20001

    Performances May 19 through June 11, 2011 - Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm
    Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 students & senior citizens athttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/171837

    theHegira ~ what we do
    Our mission is to showcase works that link women of color since their artistic efforts are underrepresented in the theatrical mainstream. We aim to develop, examine, hone, and produce quality work through a dialogue with artists embracing stories of struggle, survival and triumph. This mission encompasses work in all stages of development and theatre practitioners in all aspects of their artistic journeys.

    For more information visit www.thehegira.org



    Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls…
    Presented by Capitol Fringe Festival
    A CPT Production

    Friday July 8 @ 6pm
    Saturday July 16 @ 9:30pm
    Thursday July 21 @ 6pm
    Saturday July 23 @ Noon
    Sunday July 24 @ 8:30pm
    All Performances at Studio Theatre
    1501 14th St. NW, Washington, DC

    Sanyasi 2011
    by Rabindranath Tagore
    Presented by Capitol Fringe Festival
    Produced by Namayesh Productions

    Tuesday July 12 @ 6pm
    Thursday July 14 @ 8:15pm
    Saturday July 16 @ 11pm
    Sunday July 17 @ 2pm
    Saturday July 23 @ 6:30pm
    All Performances at Spooky Universe
    1810 16th St. NW, Washington, DC
    (Aslo appearing in FringeNYC in late August)


  10. Auditions

    This Friday we will host auditions for our producion of “for colored girls…” 

    Email us for the information! 

Page 2 of 3 Older | Newer