RYSE is set to debut its highly-anticipated third annual production — a play written and performed by Richmond youth called Richmond Renaissance — on May 6 and May 7 at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater.
The play runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. both nights at the theater located at 540 Ashbury Ave. in El Cerrito.
Richmond Renaissance is set in AnnaBelle’s, a Black-owned juke joint in 1940s North Richmond. The play counters the “often negative Richmond narrative of poverty and violence by highlighting the community’s wealthy cultural past as an epicenter for blues, jazz and zydeco.” It is also a response to gentrification in the Bay Area that “threatens to erase the history of communities,” according to RYSE.
“It’s important that we understand the history of our people and what happened in our city,” lead playwright DeAndre Evans said. “So many people are hurt, confused, and feel like they are nothing.”
Evans prepared the script after researching Richmond’s history and interviewing elders in local senior centers.
“My dream is to spark an artistic and cultural renaissance in Richmond,” Evans said.
The play will be performed by Richmond youth and is directed by Richmond native Safiya Fredericks, known for her work in Independent Lens, Mafia III (2016), and America is Still the Place (2015). The play’s assistant director is Donté Clark, Richmond’s poet laureate, creative coordinator at RYSE and creator of Romeo is Bleeding and the web series The North Pole.
Tickets are $15 for adults (24 and older) and $10 for youth in advance. At the door, tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth. VIP tickets are $50.