The Black Theatre Network

Dedicated to the Exploration and Preservation of the Theatrical Visions of the African Diaspora

The Black Theatre Network is comprised of artists, educators, scholars, students and theatre lovers who are dedicated to the exploration and preservation of the theatrical visions of the African Diaspora. For 30 years, the Black Theatre Network has collected, processed and distributed information that supports the professional and personal development of its membership (comprised of individuals engaged in the full range of theatre professions, professional and community theatres and organizations, and academic institutions). The Black Theatre Network (BTN) is an inclusive organization, run by a volunteer board, that:

  •  Provides Black Theatre artists and scholars with a milieu for communicating and exchanging ideas
  •  Provides a national forum for the examination, discussion and planning of theatre events
  •  Encourages the production of plays about the Black experience at home and abroad
  •  Disseminates employment & career development opportunities in theatre to its members
  •  Supports development & production of theatre events at local, regional, and national levels
  •  Honors & celebrates the pioneers & practitioners who have impacted the American Theatre

PURPOSE: BTN's main function is to expose the beauty and complexity of the inherited theatre work of our African American ancestors, and to take this work to a higher level through the 21st century and beyond. We seem to unite those who share this rich inheritance to assure that we all work TOGETHER.

HISTORY: The origins of BTN reach back to the first African American pioneers of the American Theatre Association, who founded the Afro-Asian Theatre Project in 1965. They subsequently established the African Theatre Project, which then became the Black Theatre Project. Finally, in 1986, members voted to form an independent organization -Black Theatre Network. Since then, Black Theatre Network (BTN) has worked to explore and preserve Black Theatre’s unique art form. Today, it’s membership includes prominent individuals, academic programs, and professional institutions across the United States and throughout the Diaspora.

MISSION:  BTN's ongoing drive is to COLLECT, PROCESS and DISTRIBUTE information that supports the professional and personal development of its members and therefore nurtures the growth of Black Theatre.  To meet its goals, BTN has developed programs that target specific sectors of its constituency while operating under the conviction that we are all in this continuum together, and therefore, we are to help each other. The network provides for the development of excellence and the growth of new, visionary theatre professionals through its student design and writing competitions. Through Recognition Awards, BTN acknowledges exceptional accomplishments and participation in workshops designed to help others develop skills specific to Black Theatre.