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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, August 06, 2015, Image 1

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? ! . i Birthday? ? V J a Mustangs Ready to go! The Chronicle Volume41,Number47 WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. THURSDAY, August 6, 2015 NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL NBTF takes first steps toward Hall of Fame Vision of Larry Leon Hamlin closer to reality BY TEVIN STINSON THE CHRONICLE It was in the mid-1970s when Larry Leon Hamlin envisioned a hall of fame dedicated to the cultural contributions of black actors, playwrights, directors and others of significance. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Hamlin's vision took one step closer to becoming a reality when a ribbon- cutting ceremony was held at 713 South Marshall St. for a preview of the National Black Theatre Hall of Fame and Museum. An initial campaign in 2016 will pro vide seed money for detailed planning and design for the hall. The National Black Theatre Festival is one of the most significant events in the history of black theater and is produced by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. The Hall of Fame and Museum features exhibits on the careers of Hamlin and Mabel P. Robinson, who had a long a distinguished career as a dancer, actor, choreographer, playwright and director. A new group of honorees will be inducted into the hall of fame each year of the festival, which runs every two years. Robinson attended the ceremony and was excited to see the museum finally come to life. "This is really amazing," said Robinson. "I know Lany would be very proud of what this festival has become." The museum also features exhibits documenting the origins of the National Black Theatre Festival. One exhibit even features an original playbill from the first festival in 1989. "This museum will make sure presence See Hall of Fame on A2 Phot* by Terim S tin son Inside the National Black Theatre Festival Hall of Fame and Museum is an exhibit dedicated to the late Larry Leon Hamlin, who started the National Black Theatre Festival in 1989. Photo by Don** Rogers ESOSA (Emilio Sosa), left, and Idris Goodwin walk down the runway as people who came to see the stars engage them at the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival Gala on Monday, Aug. 3. restival opens with revelry, awards and some 'fireworks' Some stars urge more money be given to keep community black theater alive BY TORI P. HAYNESWORTH FOR THE CHRONICLE The National Black Theatre Festival kicked off with the Gala and Awards Ceremony on Monday, Aug. 3 at the MC Benton Convention Center on West Fifth Street. Citizens of Winston-Salem gathered to witness the star studded event that included co-chairs Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams, Jackee Harry, Rain Pryor, and Naturi Naughton to name a few. Some stars who came, such as Robert Hooks, Bill Cobbs and Maurice Hines, were award-winners. The Carver High School marching band welcomed the celebrities at the entrance way to the convention center. Mayor Allen Joines, who have been involved with See Festival on A2 City, businesses welcome Festival and attendees BY TODD LUCK THE CHRONICLE With more than 60,000 attendees expected at the National Black Theatre Festival this week, it's the biggest event Winston-Salem hosts. ?>??*? Fit's a big party," said NBTF executive producer Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin. "Every two years, I do a party and I invite everyone." The economic impact of the biennial festival, which consists of a week of plays done by black theatre companies from around the world, is huge. Visit Winston-Salem President Richard Geiger estimated that there would be 65,000 play tickets sold and 4,000 hotel rooms booked. "Room pick-up has been very strong thus far," he said last week. "I think we're in store for a very excit ing festival, but a very successful one from an econom ic perspective, as well." The NBTF was started in 1989 by late North Carolina Black Repertory Company Founder Larry Leon Hamlin. The first festival had 10,000 attendees. Hamlin's widow, Sprinkle-Hamlin, took over the NBTF leadership when her husband passed in 2007, and the festival has continued to grow into an event that organizers estimate has a more than $13 million economic impact. Sprinkle-Hamlin said she doesn't have final num bers yet, but she already knows ticket pre-sales are up from 2013 and some shows were sold out before the festival even began. She said the large selection of excellent productions with tickets that are a fraction of the cost of a Broadway show are a huge draw. She said notoriety of the festival has grown over the years and credits word of mouth for much of its success. "Friends have told friends they need to be here," she said. The NBTF goes out of its way to welcome atten dees with 1,200 volunteers helping with the massive event. Some of them work at information tables at places like the lobby of the Marriott hotel, providing visitors with information on city bus routes from the See Welcome on A2 More NBTF Coverage on pages A4A5 and A10 Plaintiffs optimistic about decision in N.C. voting rights trial in W-S ? 3 II | s* ,jj Legal hearing has ended, withfcvAiling to come later ?MSi^CK a three-week trial, N.C. NAACP vs. McCrory came to a close last Friday, July 31, as both sides gave their closing arguments.. The N.C. NAACP, The League of Women Voters, U S. Justice Department and other groups challenged the state's voting reform law, House Bill 589. Judge Thomas Schroeder, who had many questions for both sides during final arguments, is expected to rule on the case later in the year. Plaintiffs argued that Republican lawmakers crafted the law knowing it would suppress the vote of young and minority voters, who are likely to vote Democratic, by scaling back or abolishing voting measures that those groups Used dispropor tionately. The lawyers representing the state' said there was no discrimination or disenfranchise ment, pointing to how black turn out and registra tion was higher in 2014, after the law went into effect. After the trial, N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II gave his own rebuttal to the state's closing arguments in front of the Federal Building, where the trial was held. "Just because you overcome a barrier, does not mean that barrier is constitutional," said Barber, using an example of an increase in graduation See Trial on AS 4* i|kSV i ASSURED STORAGE of Winston-Salem, LLC 555! SB" Br^ ^?o v*> k

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