Tag Archives: ABTF

TONI SIMMONS HENSON-Our Stories, Our Voices! Revisited!

 

TONI SIMMONS HENSON head shot

 

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The 2016 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival will be held in October, visit http://atlantabtf.org/ for more information!

LISTEN TO WHAT TONI HAS TO SAY:

Theatre Producer, Toni Simmons Henson grew up in Hillside, NJ in the backyard of Broadway. Her passion for theatre stems back as early as when she was 8 years old when she and her sister, Wanda Simmons, the writer and age 9, produced plays in their backyard and basement for neighborhood kids.
In 2004, Henson became the Executive Director of Drama Kids of Princeton. Drama Kids is the US franchise of the Helen O’Grady Acting Academy.

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The Australian based academy is the largest children’s acting academy in the world. In just a few short years, under her tenure, the Academy enrolled over 750 students and produced over 80 plays and presentations. The program grew to five locations and two summer camps. The explosive popularity of the program attracted national publicity including articles in Entrepreneur Magazine and the cover of the Princeton Packet Weekend Magazine. Henson received two awards for distinguished achievement.

In 2007, Henson moved to Atlanta and founded Micah 6-8 Media, LLC. Under that company, she produced two hit plays entitled Once Upon a Dream by Khristi  Adams and Big Girls Gotta Eat, Too! by Melissa  Blackmon and Wanda Simmons.  Big Girls Gotta Eat, Too! toured four cities and was a part of the 2012 DC Black Theatre Festival.

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In 2012, Henson founded the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival where over 200 artists perform 40 plays in four days. This annual event attracts thousands of theatre lovers from 24 states and three countries.  In 2014, Micah 6-8 Media, LLC was nominated and awarded first runner up as Emerging Business of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce for the Festival’s “significant contribution to economic development and community impact.”

The festival hosts an annual event gala that has honored theatre legends such as Taurean Blacque, Melba Moore, Pearl Cleage, Alia Jones-Harvey and American Theater Hall of Famer, Woodie King, Jr.

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Henson holds a B.B.A. from Howard University and an M.P.A from New York University. She has been married for 25 years to Antonio Henson, V.P. of PNC Bank and together they have four children.

The 2015 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is October 8th-11th. To find out more about the festival go to

www.atlantabtf.org

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Don’t Call Me Brother! Wins at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival

Austin area Playwright wins Atlanta Black Theatre Festival award for her Black Lives Matter themed play!

 

DON'T CALL ME BROTHER!
DON’T CALL ME BROTHER!

Multiple-award winning playwright Jeanette Hill has garnered another award. This time for the Festival Favorite Award Best Reader’s Theatre Series for her black lives matter themed play, ‘Don’t Call Me Brother!’ at the 2015 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF) held at the historic Morehouse College from October 8th through the 11th.

Jeanette Hill is the founder and executive director of JWHill Productions LLC, a creative arts organization. JWHill Productions LLC uses the stage to tell original stories depicting the resilience of the African American people, spirit and culture. This is Ms. Hill’s fourth award in the last three years for her plays.

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is fast becoming one of the premier outlets for quality black theater for audiences, actors and playwrights across the nation. In its fourth year, guided by executive director, Toni Simmons Henson, it continues to grow in both numbers and quality of productions. The 2015 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival received submissions from forty-two states and two countries.

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Ms. Hill was honored to have AspireTV, whose principal owner is Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson as the presenting sponsor for her staged reading and panel discussion. The play’s theme resonated with AspireTV because of its timely and relevant subject matter. ASPiRE is dedicated to deliver enlightening and entertaining programming to African-American families that reflect positive images of the African-American community.

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The staged reading was followed by an informative panel discussion, ‘The Conversation We Need to Have’. The panelists included -National Order of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE) member Rafiq Ahmad, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General Atlanta Regional Office; Timothy Tukes, a junior at Morehouse College and a 2015 All-Star Student Ambassador for the White House Initiative on HBCUs; Andre Minkins, Associate Professor at Winston-Salem State University; Reemo Rod, actor, co-owner of 3511 Media; Trebor Randle, Special Agent in Charge Georgia Bureau of Investigation-Child Fatality Review Unit and playwright Jeanette Hill. Clark Atlanta University instructor Eric J. Little, actor, director and writer moderated the panel.

Don’t Call Me Brother! addresses the impact of current events on individuals who carry the dual citizenship of being African American and working in law enforcement.

‘Don’t Call Me Brother!’ is the story of recently promoted Assistant Police Chief Andrew Merritt, whose close ties to the police force and to the black community come into question with the suspicious death of a black youth by a police officer, he is at a crossroad. Where is his loyalty? Each side wonders if they can trust him? More importantly, who can he trust?

It takes an amazing group of talented actors to bring a story to life and the ‘Brother’ cast did just that!

Derrell Lester, Eddie Oliver, Curt Keller Williams, Schelle Purcell, Tiffany Roberts (director), Kelvin Rowe, Noah Artis and Stephanie J. Williams.

Collage of Atlanta DCMB Cast

 

 

Testimonials!

What people are saying about ‘Don’t Call Me Brother!:

“This play captures exactly both the internal and external challenges that African Americans in executive law enforcement positions live with everyday. ”

     Patrick Ockletree, Assistant Chief, Austin Police Department

 

“Especially enjoyed the way the family dynamic was shown in the play. We seldom think about the impact these situations have on police officers of color. ”

         Earline Carter

This play should be seen in every major city in the United States!

Steve Savage, KAXI-FM Community Radio Station Manager

“Don’t Call Me Brother! is a voice carrying a message that some may have missed. It encourages us all to think critically about our role in creating the change we want to see in our community.”

Charles Robinson, Director Travis County Adult Probation

 

 

Jeanette Hill can be contacted at jwhill@jwhillproductions.com

 

 

www.jwhillproductions.com