Revivals in the Dark Panel Discussion: On Reviving Black Theater History

Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 6:30pm
Vanguard Lounge, Center for African American Studies, 343 High Street, Middletown, Connecticut


A panel discussion with CLASSIX, featuring A.J. Muhammad, Dominique Rider, and Awoye Timpo. Moderated by Associate Professor of English, Theater, and African American Studies Rashida Z. Shaw McMahon.

This conversation features members of CLASSIX and will center on their work as a collective and their dedication to the staging of plays by writers such as Alice Childress, Theodore Ward, and Eulalie Spence, among others; and how they go about bringing these plays to life. In an industry so overdetermined by new plays and revivals that audiences are often already familiar with, how does one begin to imagine a play that an audience might have never seen before? How does one perform that? What work goes into thinking through revivals before one even arrives in a rehearsal room? The conversation will be moderated by Associate Professor of English, Theater, and African American Studies Rashid Z. Shaw McMahon, author of The Black Circuit: Race, Performance, and Spectatorship in Black Popular Theatre (2020). To learn more about CLASSIX, to explore their evolving catalog of Black playwrights, and to listen to their podcast “(re)clamation,” please visit their website at

CLASSIX was created by theater director Awoye Timpo to explode the classical canon through an exploration of Black performance history and dramatic works by Black writers. CLASSIX defines these classic works as plays by authors of African descent from around the world that speak profoundly to the times in which they were written and resonate deeply with our own. CLASSIX engages artists, historians, students, professors, producers, and audiences to launch these plays into the public imagination and spark productions worldwide. In the past, the team behind CLASSIX has produced live events, educational programs, a podcast series, a social media platform, and an online archive of writing and plays that details this legacy of Black theater history.

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.

Read about more Revivals in the Dark Events.



Brittany Bradford is an actor, director, producer, and teaching artist. Acting credits include Broadway: Bernhardt/Hamlet. Off-Broadway: MacBeth (Hunter Theater Project), and Fiasco’s Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout). New York City/Regional credits: Fefu and Her Friends (Theatre for a New Audience); Guys and Dolls (The Muny); Flyin’ West (Westport Country Playhouse); Family Resemblance (Eugene O’Neill); The Profane and Taming of the Shrew (Chautauqua Theater Company); Midsummer Night’s Dream (Ten Thousand Things Theatre); Neighbors, Avenue Q, and Next to Normal (Mixed Blood Theatre); and Ragtime and Stick Fly (Park Square Theatre). Training: Juilliard. Line Producer of AAPF’s Say Her Name, company member of CLASSIX, and Co-Founder and Artistic Director of HomeBase Theatre Collective.

As a dramaturg/researcher, A.J. Muhammad has worked on The Black History Museum…According to The United States of America by Zoey Martinson (HERE Arts Center), and other productions ranging in different arenas ranging from indie theater to higher education. He has collaborated with the educator and activist Daniel Banks on new works, revivals, and devised theater projects for over two decades. Muhammad is currently on the producing team for the OBIE award-winning The Fire This Time Festival. He is also a librarian in the Jean Blackwell Research and Reference Division at the Schomburg Center.

Dominique Rider is a Brooklyn-based director whose work seeks to answer the question: “What is a world unmade by slavery?” while attempting to analyze the layers of anti-blackness that maintain the world we live in. Deploying theater and performance as tools of Afropessimism, Rider has developed and staged work with Audible, The New Group, NYTW, Roundabout, The Atlantic, Princeton, Rattlestick, BRIC Arts, Two River, Portland Center Stage, and more. Past fellowships/residencies include TheaterWorks Hartford, NYSAF, BRIC Arts, Roundabout, and NAMT. Currently, Rider is a resident director at the National Black Theatre and a producer with CLASSIX.

Arminda Thomas is a dramaturg, archivist, and musician. Selected credits include The Black History Museum…According to the United States of America (HERE), Jazz (Marin Theatre Company), Zora is My Name (New Federal Theatre), and The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem). She has worked as associate artistic director and resident dramaturg for the Going to the River Festival, and as literary associate and archivist for Dee-Davis Enterprises, where she served as executive producer for the Grammy Award-winning audiobook With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, and consultant for the film Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee.

Awoye Timpo is a Brooklyn-based Director and Producer. Off-Broadway directing credits include In Old Age (New York Theatre Workshop), Good Grief at The Vineyard Theatre, The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d at The Playwrights Realm, and The Homecoming Queen at Atlantic Theater Company. Regionally she has directed Pipeline at the Studio Theatre, Everybody Black at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Paradise Blue at Long Wharf Theatre. Additional credits include Carnaval at the National Black Theatre, Sister Son/ji at the Billie Holiday Theatre, The Vanished (site-specific), Skeleton Crew at Chester Theatre Company, and Ndebele Funeral at 59E59 Theaters, Edinburgh Festival/Summerhall, and the South African tour.

Images (from left): Brittany Bradford, Awoye Timpo, A.J. Muhammad, Arminda Thomas, and Dominique Rider.