The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is turning five this year. There are 63 events in total, including workshops, readings, a vendors market and full-length plays.
“The country needs, particularly the black community, needs to be celebrated, and they need to know they are a part of something,” said Toni Simmons Henson, the founder and producing director of the festival.
The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival presents a diverse lineup of plays from musicals to drama and attracts audiences and artists from across the country. Typically, about half of the audience is from out of state, and this year, almost 300 theater artists will attend and present their work.
Local playwright Janice Liddell will premiere her play, “Who Will Sing for Lena?,” a one-woman show about Lena Baker, the first woman executed in Georgia. She received an official pardon in 2005.
“I read an article about her and I was just torn. There was something haunting about that story that forced me to do some resource and compelled me to speak for her,” Liddell said.
The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival hosts its preview weekend Thursday through Sunday. It officially kicks off next Monday and runs through Oct. 15 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center. Performances of “Who Will Sing For Lena?” run Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 4 p.m.