Black Arts MKE
Press Release

The Milwaukee Black Theater Festival Returns Bigger Than Ever with Events Across the City

Black Arts MKE presents week-long celebration showcasing our city’s strong and growing Black performing arts and culture scene

By - Jun 15th, 2022 05:07 am

MILWAUKEE (June 15, 2022) – Black Arts MKE is proud to present the third annual Milwaukee Black Theater Festival, returning to venues across the city from August 10-14. The week-long celebration of Black arts and culture features free and ticketed events throughout each day, including full-production and staged reading plays, an R&B and Gospel fundraiser concert, spoken word and dance performances, and talk-back and panel discussions. This year’s theme is The Black Family: Generations Speak!, presented by generations of Black artists, includes events for the entire family, acknowledges community challenges, and encourages everyone to come together now to celebrate Black theater, healing, and unity.

“For the first time, the festival will be held across multiple venues, in an effort to expose more of the city to rich cross-disciplinary artistic and cultural activity produced by Milwaukee-based Black artists,” says Cory Nettles, Board Chair. “We’re proud to produce Milwaukee Black Theater Festival to share more of our stories and put a spotlight on emerging young Black playwrights and professional theater organizations, including Bronzeville Arts Ensemble and Lights! Camera! Soul!.” Expanded venues include Marcus Performing Arts Center, St. Ann Center Indaba Community Band Shell, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, and The Table Vocational Center.

Access the Festival Digital Program here or visit

Milwaukee Black Theater Festival events include:

  • Two theatrical world premieres produced by Bronzeville Arts Ensemble:  Milwaukee Voices of Gun Violence by Sheri Williams Pannell and Khloe’s Beautiful Blues staged reading by La’Ketta Caldwell
  • Theatrical production of Hidden Heroes by Shà Cage – The Black Women of NASA produced by First Stage and directed by Samantha Montgomery
  • Youth & Family Night kicks off the festival with preview performances from several collaborating BIPOC youth theater and dance organizations including First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Next Act Theatre, and Signature Dance Company
  • This Just In staged reading by Malaina Moore, an emerging young MKE-based Black playwright
  • Family Reunion Concert Fundraiser produced by Antoine Reynolds and featuring Milwaukee’s most talented R&B and Gospel artists and musicians
  • Milwaukee Black Theater Community, Let’s Talk! Including a History of Milwaukee Black Theater, moderated panel discussion, and an Adolphus Ward Scholarship presentation produced by Lights! Camera! Soul!’s Dimonte Henning
  • Healing Through the Arts Showcase performances presented by several artists and survivors as portrayed in Milwaukee Voices of Gun Violence

“We’re honoring the Black Family during the third year of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival which provides an opportunity to tell stories which entertain us while sharing our history, exploring our challenges, uniting our generations, and celebrating our beauty!,” adds Sheri Williams Pannell, co-founder Milwaukee Black Theatre Festival and Bronzeville Arts Ensemble producing artistic director. “

This festival would not be possible without the generous support of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), Wisconsin Humanities, The Black Seed, National Endowment for the Arts and BMO Harris Bank.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Black Arts MKE

Full Schedule Released and Tickets On-Sale for the 2023 MKE Black Theatre Festival, August 9-27

A 3-week-long festival featuring free events across the city designed to support Black creatives and two full-production ticketed plays: MUD ROW and THE MEETING

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us