Tickets for BLKS on sale now!

Playwright – Aziza Barnes

Poet and performer Aziza Barnes was born in Los Angeles. They earned a BFA from New York University and an MFA from the University of Mississippi. Barnes is author of full-length collections the blind pig (2019) and i be but i ain’t (2016), which won a Pamet River Prize, and the chapbook me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun (2013), which won an Exploding Pinecone Prize from Button Poetry. Barnes’s first play, BLKS (2017), debuted at Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. In poems and performances that interrogate and deconstruct assumptions around gender, race, and class, Barnes seeks to liberate and pluralize languages of identity. In an interview with Vice, Barnes declares, “Poems will not save your life. But what poems can do at best is provide you a roadmap so that you can save your life. They’re just little maps. If you’re listening to yourself—if you’re trusting yourself.”

A Callaloo fellow and member of the Dance Cartel and the Divine Fabrics collective, Barnes has been an editor at Kinfolks Quarterly and a cofounder of the Poetry Gods podcast. Their honors and awards include a Tangerine Award, an NYU Grey Art Gallery Prize for Radical Presence, and an Emerging Poets fellowship at Poets House. Barnes lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Director- Faith Anderson

Faith Anderson is an intuitive artist and advocate representing the rejection of American societal norms. A curriculum of voice and identity trainings and a dedication to trauma informed leadership has honed Faith’s ability to perform, direct, manage, encourage, and connect with historically excluded communities. Influences of family, friends, and a notable partner, Tamar Price, have defined who they are today. 

Cast And Production Team 

  • Producing Artistic Director of New Manifest Theatre: Simone Raquel Alexander
  • Artistic Director of Salvage Vanguard Theater: Kate Taylor
  • Director: Faith Anderson
  • Stage Manager: Kamyle Smith
  • Scenic Designer: Simone Raquel Alexander
  • Lighting Designer: J Mwaki
  • Sound Designer: Johann Solo
  • Costumer Designer: Drake Muyinza
  • Movement Direction: Sadé Jones 
  • Cast
    • Octavia- Amani Alexander
    • Imani- Amani Wilkins
    • June-  Jacqui Calloway
    • Justin/ Ethnically Ambiguous Dude/ Sosa- Wesley Johnson
    • Ry- Faith Anderson
    • That Bitch on the Couch- Ren Vedder