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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Explore Legacy and History of H Street through the Arts

In partnership with the DC Public Library and support from the National Endowment of the Arts, The Mosaic Theatre Company invites the community to learn about the history and celebrate the enduring legacy of the H Street neighborhood through the arts.

Three playwrights, chosen for their exceptional artistic work, “strong connection to DC” and “unique voices”, Dane Figueroa Edidi, Gethsemane Herron-Coward and James “JJ” Johnson, interviewed both past and current residents of the H Street neighborhood for the festival’s featured readings. Interviews focused on the protests in 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the summer 2020 protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd.

Playwright JJ Johnson has been acting for several years professionally, but is fairly new to writing professionally. “I loved the challenge this project presented and the opportunity to dig into the history of the H Street neighborhood,” he said of his involvement in the project.

He hopes the community will enjoy and learn from events of the festival.

“For those who are visiting the neighborhood, I hope they take away a curiosity that brings them back to the neighborhood for the food, the stories, the shopping, and the culture,” Johnson said. “For those who live there, I hope it deepens their pride.”

Psalmayene 24, the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright-in-Residence at the Mosaic Theatre, spent several years developing the project. He hopes the event will “strengthen the relationship that the Mosaic Theater has with [the] community.

“This is a different approach of theatre and creating for Mosaic, but it’s one that’s really aligned with our values in terms of really honoring those who not only came before, but those who are we are in the midst of, and making sure that they have some sort of voice in terms of the art that we create,” Psalmayene said.

The weekend will kick off on Saturday, March 16, with a walking tour of the H Street corridoor led by Justice Walks followed by two readings and a talk in the afternoon. Sunday will feature panel discussions and a third play reading. Specialty food samples from new H
Street hotspots Hiraya, Paste and Rind and more will also be available. All readings and discussions will take place at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St. NE).

Saturday March 16:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Justice Walks: Walking Tour of H Street Corridor.
  • 1 to 3 p.m.: Reading of Central Time by James J. Johnson followed by a talk-back.
  • 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Psalmayene 24 and Jane Lang In Conversation in the Lang Theatre/Atlas on Redeveloping the Atlas and the Growth of the Arts on H Street.
  • 7 to 9 p.m. – Reading of SMOKE by Dane Figueroa Edidi followed by a talk-back.

Sunday March 17:

  • 1 to 1:45 p.m. – DC History Center Panel Discussion about the Past, Present and Future of the H Street Corridor.
  • 3:00-5:30 p.m.: Reading of George on H by Gethsemane Herron-Coward followed by talk-back. 

In addition to the events of the weekend, the interviews completed by the three playwrights will be added to the People’s Archive at the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library (901 G St. NW).

All events are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is required. Visit mosaictheatre.org to RSVP and learn more.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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