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Hamlin received his theater training at Brown University, under the direction
of the late George Houston Bass, as a member of Rites and Reason Theatre
Company. He also studied at Johnson & Wales University. He lectured on Black
theater at such prestigious institutions as the Yale University School of Drama,
the University of Connecticut, New York University and his alma mater, Brown.
He is the founder and former executive and artistic director of the North
Carolina Black Repertory Company, the first professional Black theater company
in the state of North Carolina. Under Hamlin's direction, the "Black Rep" gained
a reputation for staging Broadway-quality shows that entertained not only local
crowds but ones across the nation through its many national tours. As an actor,
director, producer and playwright, Hamlin played a hand in bringing more
than 200 productions to fruition. He often provided artistic and administrative
consultation to numerous Black theater companies and was honored with more
than 80 awards and citations for his contributions to the theatrical field.
Hamlin was twice a guest of honor at the White House, receiving two personal
invitations from former President Bill Clinton to attend ceremonies for recipients
of the National Medal of Arts and the Charles Frankel Prize.
Every National Black Theatre Festival has grown in size and scope since its
inception. By the time the event celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009, it was
regularly attracting 70,000 visitors and pumping millions into the local economy.
Hamlin, a native of Reidsville, N.C., did not live to see the festival turn 20. He died
June 6,2007, at the age of 58. His legacy is being continued through the continued
success of both the Black Rep and NBTF. Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, his widow, is
making sure of that, as is Broadway veteran Mabel Robinson, who stepped up to
serve as artistic director of the Black Rep.
On the last night of the 2013 NBTF, the City of Winston-Salem re-dedicated
a permanent marker at the corner of Fourth and Marshall streets that salutes
Hamlin for his many contributions to the city and the world of theater.
During this years festival, the New Winston Museum (717 S. Marshall Street) is
planning an exhibit that will spotlight Hamlin's legacy and recount the history of
the NBTF. ?
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On the Cover, Clockwise:
From "The Glory of Gospel"
The cast makes a joyful noise. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Black Rep
From "Accept "Except" LGBT NY"
Tyree Young and Tuluv Maria Price bring the two-character play to life.
Photo by Gerry Goodstein.
From "Letters from Zora: In Her Own Words"
Vanessa Bell Calloway on stage as Zora Neale Hurston.
Photo courtesy of OPAS.
From "Kings of Harlem"
Cast members (from left) Melvin Huffnagle, Delano Barbosa, Thaddeus
Daniels, Lamar K. Cheston and Ade Otukoya. Photo by Aiden Cole.