Pictured above: Keith Arthur Bolden and Alexis Woodard. Courtesy of the Alliance Theatre.

The Alliance Theatre has announced the addition of The New Black Play Fest’s Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments as part of its 2020-2021 season, in association with Spelman College.

Composed of seven monologues by different black playwrights, the pieces depict black lives from many diverse backgrounds. Exact dates have yet to be announced.

“I have yet to see a show that engages with the black American experience in a way that is as raw and demanding of the artists and audience as HANDS UP,” says co-director Alexis Woodard. 

“This is a piece that everybody needs to experience.  I want to believe when we are confronted with the pain of another human’s experience, it is our natural reaction to respond with empathy and love.”

The play originally came about as a response to the Ferguson killing of Michael Brown. The play was commissioned in 2015 by the New Black Fest and in 2019 reimagined by Spelman College students into a full ensemble performance.

The piece was part of the Alliance’s Reiser Atlanta Artist’s Lab and now becomes the third such piece to get a full production from the Alliance.

Lead artists for HANDS UP

  • Spelman Alumna and Alliance Spelman Fellow Alexis Woodard (Co-Director)
  • Spelman Professor Keith Arthur Bolden (Co-Director)
  • Lorenzo Moore (Sound Designer)
  • Keri Garrett (Choreographer) 

From Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth

“The Alliance is honored by Spelman College’s partnership on this production. Atlanta theater has long been the recipient of the extraordinary contributions of the College’s students and faculty.”  

Visit alliancetheatre.org/handsupnews for more information.


About Sally Henry

A writer with a passion for building relationships and telling people's stories, Sally Henry is a freelance arts and entertainment journalist. She has had the privilege of interviewing both local theatre professionals and multi-award-winning celebrities including Carol Burnett, Matthew Morrison, and Taylor Hicks. With theatre journalism experience since 2011, her work has been featured on BroadwayWorld.com, the Huffington Post, and the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival.

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