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Arts & Ideas

New Black Fest: The Harlem Renaissance Then & Now

Robyne Walker-Murphy explores the impact and transformative power of Black artists of the past and today with contemporary artists, Zora Howard (award winning playwright and screenwriter) and Carl Hancock Rux (multidisciplinary artist and Associate Director of Harlem Stage).

Learn more about the New Black Fest: Readings

Part of Apollo New Works, the Apollo’s first major commissioning initiative launched in 2020.

Leadership support for the Apollo New Works initiative is provided by the Ford Foundation. The New Black Fest is funded by the HBO Fund for Theater, The Black Seed, and is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Commissioning support for Soul Science Lab is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.

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Covid-19 Guidelines

For the safety of our audiences and staff, all ticketholders and attendees of this event must provide proof of vaccination in order to enter the theater. In addition, all attendees are required to wear face coverings while inside the theater. Click here for more information about our COVID safety policies.


Zora Howard

Zora Howard

Zora Howard

Zora Howard is a Harlem-bred writer and performer. Plays include STEW (2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Drama League nominee for Outstanding Play; Page 73 Productions), THE MASTER’S TOOLS (Williamstown Theatre Festival), AtGN (Oberlin College), BUST, and HANG TIME. Her work has been developed with SPACE at Ryder Farm, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Primary Stages, and Cape Cod Theatre Project, among others. In 2020, her feature film Premature (2020 Film Independent John Cassavetes Award nominee), which she co-wrote with director Rashaad Ernesto Green, opened in theaters following its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. She was the 2020-2021 Van Lier New Voices Fellow at the Lark and is currently under commission from Seattle Rep, MTC, and Wessex Grove.


Carl Hancock Rux

Carl Hancock Rux

Carl Hancock Rux is an award winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, recording artist, actor, theater director, radio journalist, and frequent collaborator in the fields of film, modern dance, and contemporary art. He is a co-Artistic Director of Mabou Mines and Associate Artistic Director/Curator in Residence at Harlem Stage.Recent works include The Baptism, a tribute to civil rights leaders John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, commissioned by Lincoln Center and directed by Carrie Mae Weems,  I Dream a Dream that Dreams Back at Me, a site-specific Juneteenth celebration for Lincoln Center and Vs. a courtroom drama directed by Mallory Catlett for Mabou Mines.


Robyne Walker Murphy

Robyne Walker Murphy


Robyne is a nationally recognized art and social justice educator and administrator. Currently, she is the Executive Director at Groundswell, a social justice, youth development program that uses the transformative power of public art-making to ignite personal and societal change.Previous to her position at Groundswell, Robyne held positions at the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Coole Culture, and Dreamyard where she served as the director of the DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx. Under her leadership, DreamYard Art Center was recognized by the Obama White House as one of the top programs in the nation.  Robyne has conducted workshops and delivered keynotes at conferences and institutions across the country on the topic of art and social activism including Harvard University School of Education, University of Chicago, Seattle Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, the Bronx Museum of Art, and a host of other institutions. Robyne is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University (B.A. English) and the University of Washington, Seattle (MFA, Acting). She resides in Brooklyn with her husband, Tarik Murphy, and her son, Ras.