Center Stage: The National Black Theatre

national black theaterNearly 50 years ago Dr. Barbara Ann Teer founded one of the country?s premier performance spaces for Black Actors, the National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem, New York. Now, Sade Lythcott and a young team of executives and creatives are leading the theater into the next year.

NBT recently kicked off is 48th season with a production called ?Sweet.??

From playwright Harrison David Rivers, whose works have ?been produced and developed at the Public Theater and?Lincoln Center, and director Raelle Myrick-Hodges, “Sweet” is a coming of age story about the? sacrifices we make to hold on to the ones we love.

It?s a production Lythcott is proud of. She is no stranger to the ?theater and says she is happy to be able to continue her mother?s legacy. NBT? founder Dr. Teer, who founded NBT not only for the theater aspect but also as a revenue-generating complex, died in 2008 and Lythcott picked up the reins.?

?Born and raised in New York City, Lythcott, a graduate of New York ?University with a BA in Art History, was appointed CEO of NBT, and ?is also co-chair of the Coalitions of Theaters of Color. Before coming ?on as head of NBT, she actually performed with several off- and? off-off Broadway theater companies. She is also a recipient of the 2015? Rising Star Award from 651 ARTS and the Larry Leon Hamlin Legacy Award from Black Theatre Network.

?At NBT, we choose productions we feel tell the story of the Black experience in America. The complexity of Black culture isn?t often? celebrated, but the NBT presents our stories in their full scope,? ?says Lythcott. ?I find it very rewarding working with NBT and our ?team, among them Jonathan.??

?Jonathan McCrory is an Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as director of theatre arts at the NBT since 2012.? McCrory, who hails from D.C., attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He is responsible for the? curation and execution of all creative pragmatic elements, from? symposiums to productions, in collaboration with Lythcott. ?At NBT, we ?create pathways in our program about life and we create lots of?opportunities for creative people of color,? he says.

Lythcott and McCrory work seamlessly together. ?Jon and I have like the perfect marriage. We each have different strengths and they work ?in sync together. We have the same mission–to present the best quality productions as we can at NBT.?

??We are doing our best to allow Black people and others to see? themselves as total human beings, with all their complexities,? noted? McCrory.