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    KELINE ADAMS joins NPTC as Program Manager for Voices From the Edge just in time to Celebrate 20 Years of this ground-breaking program!

    With funding, in part, from the Puffin Foundation, 2018 sees us partnering again with the legendary Stephanie Berry, founder and artistic director of Blackberry Productions, and OBIE winner for her solo show THE SHANEEQUA CHRONICLES: The Making of a Black Woman, which NPTC originally produced.

    Stayed tune for more details!



    In 1997 NPT Artistic Director Melody Brooks met a number of talented African American artists through Community Works, an arts-in-education organization that she was helping to develop. These writers and performers were creating extraordinary theatre—much of it based on their personal experiences in helping populations in need—youth offenders, the homeless, female prisoners, persons with HIV/AIDS, public school children, etc. through workshops and developmental programs. They performed for the same populations, or sometimes in neighborhood organizations.  Through plays, solo pieces, storytelling, poetry and multi-media productions, these artists created powerful theatre infused with a strong sense of purpose and connection to the community, speaking to the many issues confronting African Americans today. 

    In February 1998, Ms. Brooks created and produced the first VFtE Festival, inviting these artists to present existing works that had been performed in non-theatre settings.  NPTC wanted to give them access to a larger audience, but more importantly, we believed that the general public needed to see the work.  Some of it was raw, some more polished, but it all fulfilled our vision of what theatre is about—to educate and enlighten as well as entertain—to move audiences on a visceral level and challenge them to become agents for change.

    The first festival was very exciting, and audience feedback confirmed our instincts that there was indeed an important need for such a program. Twenty years later, that need still exists.


    Since the loss of our black box theatre space in 2006, we have shifted the focus of Voices From the Edge from a large-scale festival to a smaller presentation. While the number of artists is fewer, we are giving more developmental and dramaturgical support to writers, and increasing the number of performances slightly.  This allows us to maintain our commitment to showcasing the works of African American artists and at the same time devote more time to specific projects.  Currently, VFE projects are selected by invitation only.


    Highlights from February 1998 to May 2017

    *Received a full or work-in-progress production by NPTC following VFE Festival

    ** Received Subsequent Production elsewhere as a result of development in VFE



    OBIE-Award winning actress Stephanie Berry’s solo work-in-progress explores the “layer of fat” beneath the skin of everyday urban life.

    Written & Performed by Stephanie Berry, Directed by Melody Brooks



    This best-selling novelist’s first play reveals the vulnerability beneath the gangsta/playa persona and challenges homophobia i n the African-American community.

    Written by James Earl Hardy, Directed by Jason King



    Three sisters meet for the first time since the death of their parents. Personal crises escalate amidst sibling rivalries, rocky romances, and exploding stereotypes in this look at life in the ‘90s for three women who define themselves and their “Blackness” on their own terms. 

    Written by Kim Euell, Directed by Judyie Al-Bilali


    FINDING HOME* (**Billie Holiday Theatre)

    When “home” is the last resort for refuge, how can we find our place in the world?  Three generations of women must confront their individual  anguish and learn to redefine the meaning of “family.

    Written by Keline Adams, Directed by Melody Brooks, Starring Marcella Lowery (The Cosby Show)



    Through spoken word and poetry, Melissa Maxwell shares some insight into her personal journey thus far, while offering some interesting and often unexpected perspectives on the world around her.

    Written & performed by Melissa Maxwell, Directed by Elise Hernandez


    Can three generations of women survive the heat, a broken air conditioner and each other?

    Written by Marsha Estell, Directed by Lynda Gravátt,  Starring Novella Nelson


    ICED OUT, SHACKLED AND CHAINED: Still Looking for the North Star (**National Black Theatre Festival 2013)

    A fusion of historical and contemporary music and stories explores the legacy of a “slavery mentality”,

    and its corrosive impact on all of us…

    Written by Kisha T. Spence and Mo Beasley, Directed by Jeffery V. Thompson



    Four beautiful, blonde friends are forced to reexamine their beliefs after a life-altering event exposes their façade.

    Written by Ted Lange, Directed by Jackie Alexander



    A powerful performance piece based on the experience of those who have faced homelessness—

    up close and personal.

    by Committed Artists of Color, Directed by Daniel Carlton


    TRAVELIN’ SHOES* (**Blackberry Productions)

    A Harlem-born sister goes on an archaeological dig to excavate her soul, searching for the appreciation and acceptance she doesn't find at home.  Her travels take her from Sweden to Switzerland, from Mt. Fuji to Fiji and many other exotic ports of call!  A work-in-progress. 

    FULLY DEVELOPED IN VFE and presented in its various stages from 2004 to a full, multi-media production in 2011.

    Written & Performed by Denise Lock, Directed by Jeffery V. Thompson

    UNREQUITED LOVE* (**Star Center Theater, Gainsville, FL)

    Hilarious, hard-hitting comedy gives each side a chance to speak their piece as they explore the dynamics of the male/female relationship today and beg to answer the question: Can we all get along?

    Written & Directed by Melissa Maxwell


    UNTITLED & UNFINISHED* (**Downtown Urban Theatre Festival)

    New York, New York!  An 18-month odyssey of lunatic roommates, hellhole apartments and strangers in the night as one newcomer struggles to find her place and make it in the Big Apple.  A testament to perseverance and

    hope, and the power of Spoken Word!

    Written & Performed by Yolanda Wilkinson, Directed by Melody Brooks