The Billie strives to produce programs so dynamic in their relevance, content, and connection to our community that a positive transformation begs to take place.
50 IN 50
Launched in 2017, 50in50 is The Billie’s popular monologue series showcasing women writers from across the globe guided by a curatorial statement by McArthur Genius Dominique Morriseau and brought to life on-stage by award winning actors.
FRANK SILVERA WRITERS WORKSHOP
An organization devoted to developing, and supporting new and known playwrights telling stories of the African-American and African Diasporas.
Since 2016 FSWW has been in residence at the Billie Holiday Theatre.
BUILDING NEW WORLDS AND WORKS
Ronald K Brown/evidence
Ronald K Brown/ Evidence has called Restoration Plaza home for over twelve years. The Billie provides Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with 100% subsidized rehearsal, office, and performance space, marketing and development support, and an annual honorarium to mount performances and host community workshops.
Kicking off The Billie’s season for the past three years, Evidence performs a weekend concert series each September on The Billie’s mainstage. Another much anticipated community tradition, each August Evidence conducts its signature two-week summer intensive which culminates in an outdoor community performance attended by thousands in Restoration Plaza.
Launched in 1991 in response to a dearth in affordable rehearsal space in NYC, the program has since served over 40 choreographers with a focus on emerging choreographers of African descent.
The Billie provides 100% subsidized space including a minimum of 50 hours of rehearsal space annually, performance opportunities throughout the year, and marketing-administrative supports. In return, our choreographers hosted master classes and choreographic showcases. Each year ChoreoQuest Fellows are selected to receive an annual honoraria. 2019 Fellows were Nathan Trice and Edissa Weeks.
Our Annual Restoration Rocks music festival takes place each October, drawing thousands to Fulton Street for such headline acts as Big Daddy Kane, Brand Nubian, Mos Def, Chrisette Michele, and many others.
Launched in 2018, Skylight Open’s is The Billie’s monthly music and spoken word series featuring cutting edge Brooklyn-based talent. Some 6 musicians and spoken word artists are presented each month with past artists including Alia Pierre, Inaya Day, Tai Allen Phoenix, and Keisha Gaye Anderson, to name a few.
The Billie’s Summer Fest is a much-anticipated series of free outdoor events taking place in Restoration Plaza each July and August. Programming includes weekly film screenings, Soul Summit dance parties, concerts featuring partners like the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, and dance workshops and performances including our lead resident, Ronald K Brown/Evidence.
Each year The Billie is pleased to bring Central Brooklyn 3-4 visual arts exhibits focusing on themes of racial equity and social justice. Past exhibits have included Luba Lukova, whose works are on permanent display at the MOMA, and Aaron Simms. While social distancing mandates continue, we have taken our visual arts platform outdoors.
Currently in process and running through the summer of 2020 is our Black Lives Matter mural on Fulton Street. This represents NYC’s first BLM street mural and is a collaboration of some 20 Brooklyn artists, directed by Dawud West with creative direction from Cey Adams, who famously completed the American flag mural for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The installation that is still in process will feature the names of Black people who have been killed by racially-motivated violence in this country
The Billie Holiday Theatre was proud to spearhead New York’s first Black Lives Matter Mural on Bed Stuy’s bustling Fulton Street. More than 20 Brooklyn-based artists were engaged in the project which was directed by Dawud West with creative direction from renowned artist Cey Adams, who famously completed the American flag mural for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Spanning 565 Feet and 28 feet tall with over 100 gallons of paint, the mural features 20 bars with the names of victims of police brutality and racial violence from Emmett Till to George Floyd. It has drawn an average of 1,300 visitors each day since June.
FILMS & SCREENINGS
NOVA FILM FEST
The Billie has partnered with Nova Frontier since its inception in 2018. The NOVA Frontier Film Festival is an aptly-timed film festival and non-profit youth lab committed to enhancing and incubating the works of filmmakers and artists from the African Diaspora, the Middle East, and Latin America.
This year’s partnership also included for the first time Laurel Channel TV. Founded by filmmaker Theodore Adams, Laurel is a streaming platform that presents films which have won awards at vetted film festivals around the world.
Together our 2020 program consisted of 17 curated long and short-form films, panels, performance, and interactive experiences that tackle timeless issues of family, global migration, and community, with immigration and cultural identity.