Past Theatre Events

2010  | 2009  |  2008  |  2007

Free Event Updates


May 1 - 10

Cultural Animators Series

Earth (H)Ours

• Friday May 1

ClimbingPoetree Hurricane Season: Hidden Messages in Water 8pm
Rhythmic and uplifting, raw and deeply moving, Hurricane Season interweaves a tapestry of spoken-word poetry, shadow art, contact choreography and a sound collage of personal testimonies, to explore critical issues facing our nation and planet through the kaleidoscope of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Earth Talk
Naima & Alixa, Climbing Poetree
Aresh Javadi, More Gardens Coalition

• Saturday May 2

A Sense of Wonder with Kiaulani Lee 7:30pm
Through the power of her knowledge and the beauty of her language, Rachel Carson became one of the great champions of the living world. This solo performance is the story of one woman's love for the natural world and her fight to defend it, launching our modern environmental movement.

Dialogue: Eco-Empowerment: Past & Present
Kiaulani Lee
Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategist

• Sunday May 3

The Greenhouse & Orchard Project: Opening Celebration & Harvest 1pm
In collaboration with Riverside Youth Ministry under guidance of the Horticultural Society of New York, these gardens will provide the seasonal fresh vegetables and fruit for the Riverside Church�s food pantry and eventually a mini green market.

Janusphere Dance: Shared Worlds 2pm
by Danielle Genest and photos by Joseph Palazzolo.

Film Screening: The Great Warming
Filmed in eight countries on four continents and endorsed by dozens of the world's leading scientists, aims to show that the consequences of global warming are already being felt around the world.

Earth Talk: Greening Harlem
Peggy Shepard, WE ACT
Haja Worley, Project Harmony

• Friday May 8 7pm
Janusphere Dance Company�Rolling�
by Darion Smith and photos by Joseph Palazzolo.

Film Screening:Trashed
At times humorous, but deeply poignant, "Trashed" examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually.

What are the effects all this waste will have on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American creates almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more?

Earth Talk: Eco-Quality
Freegans, Adam Weissman & Janet Kalish
Omar Freilla, The Green Workers Cooperative

• Saturday May 9 FREE TO PUBLIC

In collaboration with the Living Word Project & MAPP International Productions.
hosted by Marc Bamuthi Joseph

A public outdoor installation to catalyze deeper thought and community action around the value of life and our relationship to our planet.
20 young visual artists will create environmentally themed, graffiti style tags with the word "lifE" on a 8X10 foot canvas with biodegradable materials, and non-aerosol, non-toxic paint.
E in life = Energy, Environment, Ecology, Economy

The Estria Invitational Living Word Graffiti Battle
The Mighty 4 B Boy Battle hosted by Paulskeee

Performances by:
Kurtis Blow�s Hip Hop Choir
Brave New Voices Green Team
Grace Kelly Jazz Quartet

Learn Green:
Riverside Youth Greenhouse Project
Harlem Green Mappers
The Earth Institute
Bamboo Bikes Demonstration

• Sunday May 10 2pm
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

Visually powerful, Earthrites stresses the connections and importance of living with respect and in harmony with nature.
Excerpts from the new work Axis: Temples of Ice, focusing on global warming and the resurrection of Hamatan, portraying the effects of pollution, reflect on our relationship with Mother Earth.
Choreographed by Abdel R. Salaam
Earth Talk: Faith Perspectives & the Environment
Abdel Salaam , Artistic Director Forces of Nature
Gen. Adm. $12�� Sen/Child $8


June 5 - 27

Family Arts Festival 2009

Harlem Speaks: Caribbean Swing

• June 5  7pm
Co-sponsored with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
NJMH Allstars

Join us as National Jazz Museum in HarlJunem Director Loren Schoenberg takes us on a musical journey in an revealing dialogue with award-winning trumpeter Etienne Charles.

Then we'll swing right into a jazz fused Afro-Caribbean groove with Etienne Charles at the helm of the NJMH Allstars.

Aesop Family Fable

• June 6  3pm

A Jazzed, Popped, Hip-Hopped, Beat-Boxed version of Aesop's fables.

Join M.C. D. Cross

With performances by:
Ruby Dee and FABLE:
Ronne Haynie
Lorenzo Von Smith
Tequan Worthen

Families have formed performance teams and with a randomly selected Aesop fable, will bring the story to life with only the creativity of their voices. Help us cheer them on!

Artz, Rootz, Rhythm

• June 12  7pm
Co-sponsored with the Harlem Arts Alliance
Winners All!

Celebrating Forty Years of Creative Success & Survival in the Arts

Harlem School of the Arts
New Heritage Theatre
Uptown Dance Academy


Finale: Community Sing for All Performers & Audience

The Clowns (Los Payasos)

• June 14  2pm
Featuring Dr. Glory's Youth Theatre

An original musical written, directed and choreographed by Dr. Glory Van Scott.

In the mythological planet of "WuTalway" live the people called: "WuTalwaylalaeezers", who along with their queen called "oh yeah - sis" decide that the only emotion that they will allow to be expressed on their planet is laughter.

In order to accomplish this, they kidnap famous clowns from Earth--Los Payasos, Harlequin, Scaramouche, Pagliacci Pierrot, Emmett Kelly and their leaders Columbia Alpha, Columbia Beta, and their Joyous Creature called Appearance.

Find out what shocks the WuTalwaylalaeezers, and how Los Payasos teach them about the beauty and marvelous wonders of humanity.

Power of Drum: IV En Clave

• June 19  7pm
In collaboration with Michael Wimberly

Join us as we kick off our 4th season of the Power of Drum with Grammy nominated percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader and educator Bobby Sanabria, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythm master Memo Acevedo and Grammy nominated percussionist, composer Dafnis Prieto.

This year we explore the rhythmic power of the clave following its origins from the African slave trade to Cuba, Colombia, the Caribbean and the US.

This production is brought to you in part by Vic Firth, Yamaha, LP, Remo, Taye Drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads, Pro-Mark, Carl Fischer, MW Productions sound design.

Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company

• June 20  3pm
"Urashima Taro (the Fisherman and the tortoise)"

A popular Japanese story, Urashima Taro teaches the lessons 'be good to all living things' and 'keep promises'.

Big fish flying in air, dancing in unique costumes of Tortoise, Octopus, Seaweeds and beautiful Japanese robe, create a captivating spectacle.

After the performance, participate in making waves using Japanese dancing fans as fins and tail of a fish.

Salute to the Family

• June 21  2pm
Making a Difference

Join us for a special event to celebrate the work of those who are committed to uplifting families and strengthening our communities.

Eagle Academy for Young Men
Kingsbridge Heights Community Center

Performances by:
Cyrus Chestnut
Opus Dance Theatre

Bronx Stories

• June 26  7pm

An interactive multimedia performance piece, Bronx Stories is based on true stories. Poets, dancers, and musicians will represent the spirits, present and past, of the Bronx.

Powerful narrative collages will reveal how people survive the harsh urban streets of the Bronx through faith and how they rise above to realize their dreams.

This poetic, musical cluster of monologues, dance, and song captures the heart and soul of the Bronx.

Conceived by seasoned performance artist D.L. Anderson and writer/publisher Lee Kottner.

Greek Cultural Village

• June 27  2pm

The Hellenic Dancers of NJ will share the traditional music, dance and traditions of Greek culture. Audience participation and workshops will give attendees a better understanding and appreciation of Greek culture.

Iconography Exhibit and discussion with Katerina Papaiouanou

2pm Creatan Dance Workshop
Led by John Halkiadakis, this workshop will include dances such as Sirtos, the carnival round dance, Laziotis, Maleviziotis (Kastrinos) and the cheerful and comical dance Zervodeksos.

3pm Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir Performance

4pm Greek Crafts Workshop

5pm Greek Dance Workshop
Led by Terry Kostas & Spyro Petrootsios. Learn traditional Greek dances like Kahamatiano Horo, Tsamiko, Hasaposerviko and Karagouna.

6pm Fashion Show of Greek Foresies Costumes
Hellenic Dancers of NJ performance


Aug 6 - Aug 17

The Riverside Theatre and BeBop Theatre Collective present two one-act plays celebrating the bold spirit of poet and Black Arts Movement playwright Sonia Sanchez.

Sanchez's first play, The Bronx Is Next, is a provoking commentary on interracial racism and interracial sexism that premiered in The Drama Review in 1968.� The play follows Charles, Roland and Jimmy, three Black Revolutionaries forcing tenants into the streets as part of their organization's protest plan to burn out the horrible tenements of Harlem. �The play typifies Sanchez's bold spirit as it illustrates her early capacity to celebrate the Black Power Movement and critique it at the same time. The patriarchal oppression of women within the Black Power Movement is thus central to the play's impact both in the '60s and today.

Sister Son/Ji, in part, explores the vital role in the movement of college students whose personal interactions often mimicked confrontational, unhealthy male/female relationships derived from sexist behavior within the larger black (militant) community. �Descriptions of social and personal divisions among characters in the play emphasize Sanchez's criticisms of black paternalism within the movement-continuing Sanchez's unflinching examination of paradoxical notions of liberation in the Black Power Movement.� This BeBop Theatre Collective production marks the 40th anniversary of Sister Son/Ji.

8:00 P.M.-AUGUST 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 17
3:00 P.M.-AUGUST 9, 16 �

$20 General Admission
$30 Opening Night Performance, Q & A with Sonia Sanchez and Reception

Aug 21 - Aug 30

African Diaspora Summer Film Series

Greed and idealism collide in this powerful narrative staring Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long and Giancarlo Esposito. Tensions of the past resurface, as a town and its people struggle with age-old issues of the politics of prejudice. Images of past and present blend seamlessly as reminders of lessons yet to be learned. Winner of six festival awards including Best Feature, Best Director, and Producer Award

Friday, August 21-7:30pm
Saturday, August 22-9pm
Sunday, August 23-4:30pm
Friday, August 28-6:30pm
Saturday, August 29-6:30pm
Sunday, August 30-2pm

The DC area is home to one of the largest populations of Ethiopians outside of Africa. Many came to escape political oppression and human rights violations. Now as US citizens, they exercise Constitutional rights mobilizing and organizing their community members for taxicab workers' rights, DC Voting Right, Voting Rights in Ethiopia and Humane Immigration Reform. Discussion after the screening.
Saturday, August 22 at 4pm

Abel attempts to meet the cultural and religious expectations of his traditional, conservative Latino family. He Marries Virginia. Four years into the marriage, they both have to confront Abel�s sexual orientation after Virginia is infected with the HIV virus and develops AIDS.
Saturday, August 22-6:30pm

The feature-length documentary The End of Poverty? won critical acclaim at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and is narrated by actor Martin Sheen. It is a daring, thought-provoking and very timely documentary by filmmaker Philippe Diaz. The film takes a hard look at world poverty and challenges capitalism and the American way. In a world of plenty, why are so many families around the planet still living in abject poverty? Looking beyond the popular "solutions" for poverty, The End of Poverty? asks if the true causes of poverty today stem from a deliberate orchestration of resource misallocation started in colonial times. Discussion after the screening.
Sunday, August 23 at 2:00pm
Saturday, August 29 at 4:00pm

This remarkable film traces is the journey of the famous Senegalese singer in his quest to humanize through music the story of those who started their journey as slaves. An homage to jazz, and the courage and creativity of those who created this powerful music.
Friday, August 28-8:30pm

A powerful portrait of the leaders of Jamaican music, Made in Jamaica explores how Reggae has become a worldwide phenomenon through interviews and musical performances.
Saturday, August 29-8:30pm

Fascinating in its complexity, with an astonishing amount of archival film footage and firsthand accounts, Wounded Knee explores the occupation of Wounded Knee by 200 armed Oglala Lakota in a 71-day standoff in 1973. An immersive look at the climate of racism in border towns and ultimately, the role the armed protest played in Native American self-conception. - Sundance 2009. Zompantli (Wall of Skull), a dance group that incorporates Aztec and Mayan dances, will perform before the screening. Sunday, August 30-4:00pm

August 21 - Opening Night - Reception and Gospel Hill screening
$15 (no Senior or Student discount)
August 30 - Wounded Knee and dance performance
- $12 (Seniors & Students: $10)
General Admission - $10 (Seniors & Students: $8)

Sept. 27, 2pm

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.

Thousands of women - ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim - came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country's civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about a agreement during the stalled peace talks.

A story of sacrifice, unity and transcendence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia. Inspiring, uplifting, and most of all motivating, it is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations.

There will be a discussion following the film, lead by: Leslie Wright - Chapter President and Vice President for the�US National Committee for UNIFEM, & Peg Snyder - first director of UNIFEM�and also on the Board of the Market Women's Fund

Dec 3 - 5

African Diaspora Film Festival

The Riverside Theatre and ArtMattan Productions have joined forces to present an eclectic slate of award winning, thought provoking and entertaining films from Africa and the African Diaspora in the African Diaspora Film Festival in December.

Part of ADFF School Program Thursday, Dec. 3 @ 12 noon
This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. The film depicts the homophobia that caused this murder and questions the lack of media coverage of the murder of a Black Gay teenager.

Thursday, Dec. 3 @ 3:00PM
Premature (US), White Like the Moon (US Latino), Tell Them (Swaziland) & Chipo's Promise (Swaziland/Zimbabwe)

After Tisha, a streetwise teenager from the Bronx, discovers she's pregnant and receives no support from her community, she has nowhere to turn and is faced with the most difficult decisions she will ever make. By Rashaad Ernesto Green, USA, 2008, 15min, drama in English.

A Mexican-American girl struggles to keep her identity when her mother forces her to bleach her skin. White Like the Moon is a revealing film about a dilemma not very well known outside Latino communities; that of the myth of the light skin superiority in Indigenous and Indigenous descendant communities. By Marina Gonzalez Palmier, USA, 2001, 23min, English, Drama

This film, set in the foothills of Manzini, tells the story of a young Swazi girl who is being abused by her teacher. In order to expose the abusive teacher, she must stand up against a community that does not believe her. By Samkeliso Nxumalo, Swaziland, 2008, 24min drama in Seswati with English subtitles.

This is the story of a young girl, living in the heart of a township in Harare, who is forced to be a mother to her orphaned younger brother and sister, after their parents pass away due to AIDS. The film shows how they struggle to make ends meet in a community that does not want them. By Tongai Furusa, Swaziland/Zimbabwe, 2008, 24min, drama in English

Thursday, Dec. 3 @ 6:00PM
A contemporary look at the impact of militarism, tourism and real estate on the political, economic and cultural world of Hawaiians

Thursday, Dec. 3 @ 8:30PM
World-renowned jazz musician, Jon Hendricks's story was fighting on two fronts: against the Nazis and against racial discrimination in the US Army as well as in the United States

Rebel Rhymes & Breakin' in: The Making of a Hip Hop Dancer
Friday, Dec. 4 @ 12 noon
A fast paced musical drama about an angry young rebel rapper and an edgy documentary goes behind the scenes to follow three young women competing for roles in music videos.

Friday, Dec. 4 @ 3:00PM
An exploration of the strong presence of women in Haitian society and the struggle to understand their complex conditions and what they are doing for themselves

Friday, Dec. 4 @ 8:30PM
Eldrige Cleaver, Miriam Makeba, Almicar Cabral and some of the Pan-African leaders appear in this great celebration of planetary proportions.

Friday, Dec. 4 @ 6:00PM
A look at women's lives in Palestine from two women filmmaker, one Egyptian the other Israeli. Featuring US PREMIERE of BRIDES OF ALLAH and OF FLESH AND BLOOD

Saturday, Dec. 5 @ 1:00PM - Riverside
Intonga Siviwe, a rural boy, arrives to his new school in Johannesburg, where he runs afoul of "Knuckles," the local bully. When Father Duze decides to take Siviwe under his wing and teach him some boxing the story goes to another level.

"Uprooted" & "Soraya, Love Is Not Absentminded"
Saturday, December 5 @ 3:30PM
The tragedy of uprooting and the power of resilience in thess beautifully detailed tales about struggle and resistance; a bittersweet story of loss, love, family, and dreams.

Saturday, Dec. 5 @ 6:00PM
Anonymous emails to black leaders, criticizing them for undermining the progress of black America sets a young man on a journey to find the voice he needs to make a difference.

Saturday, Dec. 5 @ 8:30PM
The heart wrenching story of an Ethiopian refugee's struggle to survive in the city of Johannesburg depicts the true cost of dreams is revealed and each life is changed forever.

Dec 6, 2pm

Dr. Glory's Youth Theatre

The always-exciting troupe of young singers, dancers, instrumentalists and actors once again presents an original musical theatre piece by Dr. Glory van Scott.

Dec 11 - 13

NuDance 2009

Fast becoming one of New York's most important showcases of emerging choreographers, this year will include 10-12 new works dealing with important themes in our culture. This year, one group will be chosen to do a month-long mentorship/residency with a leading New York choreographer.

Friday, December 11
6:30 - Choreographers in Creation
8:00 - xodus dance collective - 25th Hour
SYREN Modern Dance - Last of the Leaves
Opus Dance Theatre - Mothers of War
Rebecca Davis Dance Company - In Greed: The Tale of Enron
RASTRO Dance Company - Cotidiana
Sidra Bell Dance New York - Anthology

Saturday, December 12
6:30 - Choreographers in Creation
8:00 - RASTRO Dance Company - "...de la calle"
INSPIRIT! - Say It Loud
DANCE IQUAIL - Song of the Sacred
Lior Shneior - Mama Liebe/Drang
Sidra Bell Dance New York - Concuctivity
xodus dance collective - You Hear Me See We Feel

Sunday, December 13
12:30 - Choreographers in Creation
2:00 - Rebecca Davis Dance Company - Darfur
SYREN Modern Dance - Last of the Leaves
Opus Dance Theatre - Mothers of War
Lior Shneior - Mama Liebe/Drang
INSPIRIT! - Say It Loud
DANCE IQUAIL - Still With Me

Dec 18 & 19

The Nutcracker

December 18 - 8:00 pm
December 19 - 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Tickets: $18, Senior / Under 12: $13

A timeless children's ballet, telling the story of one little girl's enchanted Christmas with dancing soldiers, life-sized dolls and dancing ferries. In partnership with Mooney/Cooley Dance.