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Talkin' Revolution: The 50th Anniversary of the Free Southern Theater

Presented by Junebug Productions and sponsored by the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, October 18-20

Date: Friday, October 18, 2013
Time: 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Building: Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC) in Room Qatar Ballroom
Location: uptown campus
Other Information: Limited registration on the day of the event. Advanced registration recommended.

Junebug Productions is extending a special invitation to the students, faculty and staff of Tulane University to attend Talkin' Revolution: the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the Free Southern Theater, October 18-20, 2013.

Talkin' Revolution is a historic four-day gathering of artists, activists and educators coming together to celebrate and honor the 50 year legacy of Free Southern Theater as carried forward by Junebug Productions and others. Join us as we gather for panel discussions, presentations and performances to reflect on the historic and continued impact of the Free Southern Theater.

The full day of conference events on Tulane's campus on Friday, October 18 is free of charge with a Tulane ID. However, space is limited so advanced registration is recommended. Tulane faculty, staff, and students can register for the events here: If a group of your students would like to attend, please contact Catherine Michna at I can answer any questions that you or your students might have about the conference locations and events.

Confirmed speakers and performers FST founders and members:
John O'Neal, Dr. Doris Derby, Kalamu ya Salaam, Chakula Cha Jua, Quo Vadis Gex Breaux, Frozine Thomas, E. Jeanne Johnson, Charlene

Mays Artists/Cultural Organizers:
Dudley Cocke (Roadside Theater), Linda Parris-Bailey (Carpetbag Theatre), Carlton Turner, (Alternate ROOTS) Amara Tabor-Smith (Urban Bush Women), Wendi O’Neal, Frederick "Hollywood" Delahoussaye, Progress Theatre,

Junebug Productions Scholar/Historians:
Jerry Ward (Central China Normal University), Jan Cohen-Cruz (Syracuse University), James Smethurst (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Felipe Smith (Tulane University), Catherine Michna (Tulane University)

THURSDAY OCT. 17th New Orleans Artist Showcase Showcasing a new generation of New Orleans artists influenced by FST & Junebug Productions. Featuring Michaela Harrison and friends 7 - 11pm Cafe Istanbul in the New Orleans Healing Center 2372 St. Claude Ave. $5

Free Southern Theater Roundtable Panel Discussions
11am – 5pm Panel Discussions
Tulane University, Lavin-Bernick Center Qatar Ballroom
Free for Tulane faculty, staff, and students (space is limited; advanced registration recommended, $15 lunch is optional and must be paid for in advance with registration).

Registration: 9am-10:30am
Opening Remarks: 10:30

11:00am -1:00pm:  FST Beginnings  
Facilitated by Tufara Waller Muhammad (Highlander Center), FST founders and members John O'Neal, Doris Derby, Roscoe Orman, and Jerry Ward will discuss the theater’s early years in Mississippi and its role as the cultural arm of SNCC and early debates about integration and aesthetics, including the theater's controversial decision to move to New Orleans.

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm:   FST's Impact on Black Art: from the 1960s to Today:
Featuring Kalamu ya Salaam, Jan Cohen-Cruz (Syracuse University), James Smethurst (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Carlton Turner (Alternate Roots), and Amara Tabor-Smith (Urban Bush Women) and facilitated by Catherine Michna (Tulane), this roundtable will discuss how the rise of the FST shifted conversations about African American theatre and dramatic writing in the early 1960s. Participants will also reflect on how the legacy of the FST and related Black Arts movements theaters continue to impact African American writing and performance today.

3:30 - 5:00 pm:  Women in FST and the Civil Rights Movement:
Facilitated by Wendi O'Neal (Junebug Productions), FST alumni Dr. Doris Derby, Frozine Thomas, E. Jeanne Johnson, Bertha O'Neal and Charlene Mays, will come together with women working in the civil rights and Black Arts movements to share their memories, accomplishments, aesthetics, and struggles.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Free Southern Theater & Junebug Productions Gala:
An evening honoring FST founders John O’Neal & Dr. Doris Derby and FST Alumni. Performances by FST featuring Amara Tabor-Smith of Urban Bush Women, Junebug Productions, Progress Theater, Frederick “Hollywood” Delahoussaye, and others followed by opening night reception.
Contemporary Arts Center 900 Camp St., 8 - 11pm, $50.


Fishbowl Conversation: FST alumni and Younger Generations of Cultural Organizers This conversation will consist of two circles and multiple generations of artists working in the FST’s legacy. The inner circle will feature FST alumni from each of the theater’s “generations” who will speak about the theater’s impact on their lives, careers, and communities. Artists, cultural workers, students, and teachers are encouraged to sit down in the outer circle to ask questions and hear the stories and ideas that the FST’s alumni have to share. 8am - 9:30am Breakfast 10am - 12pm Fishbowl Conversation 12 - 1:15pm Lunch Ashé Cultural Arts Center 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. $40 includes breakfast & lunch

Civil Rights Tour This bus tour will take you through historically black neighborhoods of Central City and Treme highlighting the sites and stories of individuals and organizations who made great contributions to the civil rights movement. 1:30 - 4pm starts and ends at Ashé Cultural Arts Center 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. $30 includes bus transportation

Doris Derby Photo Exhibit Reception
Amid the violence and injustice of the civil rights movement, FST founder Dr. Doris Derby's photographs focused on the organizing efforts of African Americans. "I was documenting not only the political side, but the economic, the educational, and the artistic side that complemented the political. And I wanted to make sure that the self-empowerment activities that the communities were involved in were documented."
McKenna Museum of African American Art 2003 Carondelet St., 7-9pm Free.

Story Circle, Community Sing & Networking Lunch
John O'Neal (Junebug Productions), Dudley Cocke (Roadside Productions), and Linda Parris Bailey (Carpetbag Theater) will present the history, practice and many uses of the story circle process. Participants are invited to share stories of how they have been impacted by Free Southern Theater, Junebug Productions and this weekend's convening. Following in the tradition of the civil rights movement, we will close the convening with a community sing featuring songs of the movement. Followed by networking lunch with local social justice organizations. 10am - 2:30pm Ashé Cultural Arts Center 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. $40 includes lunch

Sponsored by: New Orleans Center for the Gulf SouthCenter for Public Service, Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Admission: See description
Attendance: See description
Open to: Faculty, Graduate students, Staff, Undergraduates

Tickets: Recommended
Ticket Information: This registration link is for the Tulane students, faculty, and staff. The event is open to the public and public registration can be found here:

Please RSVP via the web at

For more information contact Catherine Michna via email to or by phone at 401-662-9388

Additional information may be found at the event website at

Follow Tulane sponsored and related events on Twitter at!/TulaneEvents

Calendar of Events, Tulane University  504-865-5000