Multiple GRAMMY nominee and jazz great Nnenna Freelon will bring her theatrical project, The Clothesline Muse, to the 14th biennial National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, August 7 & 8.
The Clothesline Muse celebrates African American culture, women’s history, the Civil Rights struggle, and the emerging labor movement of the day, through original live music, emotive dance, brilliant visual art and projection. The story is told through the complex relationship between old-school and new cool.
In this dramatic and poignant tale that explores the clothesline as a metaphor for our community lifeline and its ties to our environment, Grandma Blu, an aging washerwoman and storyteller, desperately wants to share her clothesline legacy, part of the culture of the Old South, and her wisdom before she passes on, with granddaughter Mary Mack. Mary is a modern online woman who believes that speed and technology hold the keys to success. She is both a feminist and futurist wanting nothing to do with yesterday’s washing drudgery and stories. Their relationship and the social traditions it represents and the history it tells, are told in The Clothesline Muse, a journey through laughter, tears, dance, story, song, and struggle.
Six-time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon performs the role of Grandma Blu/The Clothesline Muse and is both storyteller and songstress, bringing her unique and stirring vocals to the self-penned original music. Cloteal Horne plays the role of Mary Mack.
When touring this show, there is generally community outreach in each market, something Nnenna does at every possible opportunity. From children’s shows to college, community and other school visits, there are workshops, conversations, Q & A’s and other interaction to ensure that the messages portrayed in the performances serve as social, historical and cultural conduits. The residencies are funded by one of twenty prestigious grants provided by the Community Fund of the National Performance Network (NEFA).
The National Black Theatre Festival offers a wide range of theatrical performances including dramas, comedies, musicals, choreoplays and multimedia. Festival goers will be able to choose from more than 130 performances of new works and Black classics performed by professional Black theatre companies from across the country and abroad. Shows are presented at multiple venues throughout Winston-Salem. Tickets are sold separately for each show and can be purchased on www.nbtf.org.