Stages of Struggle and Celebration

9781477308202: Paperback
Release Date: 15th January 2016

70 b&w photos

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 341

Series Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture

University of Texas Press

Stages of Struggle and Celebration

A Production History of Black Theatre in Texas

Written by
Sandra M. Mayo
Elvin Holt
Paperback / £24.99

From plantation performances to minstrel shows of the late nineteenth century, the roots of black theatre in Texas reflect the history of a state where black Texans have continually created powerful cultural emblems that defy the clichés of horses, cattle, and bravado. Drawing on troves of archival materials from numerous statewide sources, Stages of Struggle and Celebration captures the important legacies of the dramatic arts in a historical field that has paid most of its attention to black musicians.

Setting the stage, the authors retrace the path of the cakewalk and African-inspired dance as forerunners to formalized productions at theaters in the major metropolitan areas. From Houston’s Ensemble and Encore Theaters to the Jubilee in Fort Worth, gospel stage plays of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, as well as San Antonio’s Hornsby Entertainment Theater Company and Renaissance Guild, concluding with ProArts Collective in Austin, Stages of Struggle and Celebration features founding narratives, descriptions of key players and memorable productions, and enlightening discussions of community reception and the business challenges faced by each theatre. The role of drama departments in historically black colleges in training the companies’ founding members is also explored, as is the role the support of national figures such as Tyler Perry plays in ensuring viability. A canon of Texas playwrights completes the tour. The result is a diverse tribute to the artistic legacies that continue to inspire new generations of producers and audiences.

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I. Setting the Stage: Early Work and Overview
    • Chapter One. Black Theatre in Texas: From the 1800s
  • Part II. Their Place on the Stage: Representative Organizations
    • Chapter Two. San Antonio: A Core Venue in the Alamo City
    • Chapter Three. Austin: Artistic Collaboration in the Capital City
    • Chapter Four. Dallas: Engaging the Community
    • Chapter Five. Fort Worth: Joy in the Theatre
    • Chapter Six. Houston: Black Theatre on Main Street
  • Afterword
  • Plays by African American Texans
  • Notes
  • Select References
  • Index

Sandra Mayo is Director of Graduate Studies and an associate professor of theatre at Texas State University. She and Elvin Holt coedited Acting Up and Getting Down: Plays by African American Texans.

Elvin Holt is a professor of English at Texas State University.

"Sandra M. Mayo and Elvin Holt have put together the definitive book on black theatre in the Lone Star State…this is an important and wonderful book."

Texas Books in Review

"Black theatre in Texas presents a significant challenge to the narrative of Texas’s own cultural identity, which is dominated by violent stories featuring white male heroes, often to the exclusion of minoritized people. Thus, Mayo and Holt create space for a new narrative, one that places black artists at the center of the cultural development of Texas."

Journal of American Drama and Theatre