A discussion about being Black culture bearers in Vermont during this time of protest and pandemic.
Jarvis Green, producing artistic director at JAG Productions leads a conversation with poet Major Jackson, choreographer Felicia Swoope, and writer Desmond Peeples about being Black culture bearers in Vermont during this time of protest and pandemic. They’ll share how they and others might use the humanities and the arts to help process, respond to, and advance the current moment.
Not on Facebook? We’ll post a video of the discussion to the Digital Programs section of our website a day or two after the event.
Thanks to the Vermont Arts Council for helping to sponsor this event.
Our programming is free and open to the public! All artists who contribute to these important online gatherings are compensated. If you're in the position to make a gift to support our work, we hope you'll consider doing so—even $5, $10, $25 makes a big difference.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Major Jackson is the author of five collections of poetry, including Absurd Man (W. W. Norton, 2020), Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015), and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He serves as the poetry editor of the Harvard Review, and teaches at University of Vermont, where he is the Richard A. Dennis Professor of English and University Distinguished Professor.
Felicia Swoope is the founder of Gendarc Dance NYC, a cutting-edge dance center that develops and supports New York’s most dynamic artists. She earned Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) focused in English Language and Literature from Dartmouth College and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She works as the Assistant Director of Recruitment at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Desmond Peeples’ writing has appeared in Five [Quarterly], Big Bridge, Goreyesque, and elsewhere, and they are the founding editor of Mount Island, a small press and literary magazine dedicated to creating space for rural LGBTQ+ and POC voices to be heard on their own terms. They hold a BA in Creative Writing & Critical Theory from Goddard College and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
ABOUT JAG TALKS
JAG TALKS is a bi monthly one-hour LIVE online conversation with national artists to discuss Black theatre, Black art, Black organizing, Black joy, Black critical thought, Black fantasy, Black history, and more during a time of death, betrayal, and a global pandemic
THE JAG TEAM
Producing Artistic Director: Jarvis Green
Company Manager: Tamara Waraschinski
Operations Manager: Serena Nelson
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Co- Chairs: Jackie Fischer & Vincent Mack
Treasurer: Nancy Grant
Marcela Di Blasi
JAG Productions was formed in 2015 with the mission to produce classic and contemporary African- American theatre; to serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thereby, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community through shared understandings of the humankind through the lens of the African-American experience.
JAG Productions was born in 2015 in the small town of White River Junction, VT with the mission to produce classic and contemporary African-American theatre; to serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thereby, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community by connecting with the full breadth of the human experience.
Our fourth season opened with the world premiere of Nathan Yungerberg's play Esai's Table; a dream that was born in 2018 at JAGfest, our new works festival, where the play received a staged reading. This beautiful show transports audience and characters on a mystical journey in which we experience the lives of three young Black men, and redefine what it means to be human. The vision to do a world premiere in the Upper Valley for the community that nurtured and supported its development will came to life in October 2019 at Briggs Opera House in White River. The play will subsequently transfer Off-Broadway to the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. Esai's Table marks a pivotal moment for JAG as it's first world premiere, first Off-Broadway transfer, and first co-production.
What does it mean to create a space for African American theatre in rural New England?
JAG has become an incubator for the vulnerability we need to access individual and collective transformation. JAG has meant as much to the Black artists who come to the Upper Valley to share and develop their craft, talents and insights on stage as it has to our community that is consistently moved, stretched, and inspired - and continues to return for more exceptional performances. Serving as a vehicle for change, JAG has used theatre to catalyze community dialogue around critical issues of race, gender, sexuality, and identity and has played a central role in carving spaces for Black folks and people of color in the predominantly white town of White River Junction, Vermont.
Beyond theatrical productions and events, JAG works to bring its mission and values to the public through outreach programs such as a free student matinee program, educational support materials, and guest speaking engagements. JAG partners with Dartmouth College, Lebanon High School, Cherry Lane Theater, White River Indie Festival, and other area organizations to bring artists for workshops and public panel discussions. Topics have ranged from discussing the limitations and possibilities of curating Black experiences in white institutions, to reflecting on the afterlives and the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade through the lens of Black theatre artists and Black queer and feminist artists, and most recently reveling in Aretha Franklin's legacy and her pursuit and love of opera.
This event is made possible by Vermont Humanities Council & the Vermont Arts Council