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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
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
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
"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 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
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
BY TODD LUCK
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
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,"
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
II | s*
Legal hearing has ended,
withfcvAiling to come later
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
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
of Winston-Salem, LLC