Pearl Side community arts festival coming to theREP

ALBANY — Capital Repertory Theatre joins forces with artistic and community partners for Pearl Side Community Arts Festival, a five-day celebration of Capital Region arts and community service, taking place Sept. 8-12.

Storytelling, mural painting, art exhibits, plays, music, and dance activities will take place inside and outside the theatre at 251 North Pearl St. All events are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

Pearl Side acts as a bridge between the community and the arts organizations within it, allowing community partners to collaborate with one another while encouraging the community to support and engage with artists.

The festival is designed to help build stronger connections between the arts and their Capital Region communities. Proctors Collaborative along with theREP, Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, Troy Foundry Theatre, The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Albany Center Galleries, MVP Health Care, M&T Bank, Albany Housing Program, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Schenectady Community College Culinary Program and numerous other community organizations are part of this collaborative project, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Each day of the festival, the visual art gallery will be available featuring works created by local artists and curated by the African American Cultural Center. Patrons will also be treated to a playlist of music by local artists/bands such as Jermain Wells and the Ill Funk Ensemble, Carmen Lookshire, Justin Friello, Morris & Rivers and more.

Pearl Side begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th with an opening ceremony under theREP’s awning. The opening ceremony will be followed by a performance, on theREP’s mainstage, by Metropolitan Baptist Church’s Gospel Choir.

Inspired by the prompt, Generations: Neighborhoods at a Crossroads (reaching back to go forward), three brand new plays, each 10-15 minutes in length, have been commissioned and written specifically for Pearl Side. Each commission was made by one of three local theatres, BTTUNY, TFT and theREP. There will be sign language interpreters for each.

Shows are:

  • UP On the Hill by Arron Moore, directed by Jean-Remy Monnay (by BTTUNY)
  • She’s Still Breathing: An Architecture of Resilience by Morgan Heyward, directed by Angelique Powell (by TFT)
  • Take Me With You by Rachel Lynett, directed by Susan Spain (by theREP)

Along with the wide array of visual and performing artists, the public is invited to participate in the creation of a community mural. Using the theme of community and neighborhood, Albany Center Gallery is working with local artist Shae on a mural design that will be brought to fruition by the hands of the community. The three-panel mural will travel around Albany, taking up residency within several different organizations over the course of several years.

Featured artists include storyteller Barbara Howard, drag queen storyteller Jizabell Lee, African drummer Howard Underwood, dance troupe H.I.P.H.O.P. (How Important People Helps Our People) & Community Praise, spoken word artist D. Colin to host a slam contest, music by Carla Page, poetry by Valerie Temple and more.

Complimentary food and beverages, provided by Schenectady Community College Culinary Program, will mark the outdoor block party – which will be accompanied by music from the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Region’s Music Van – at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, in front of theREP on North Pearl St., and alongside theREP on Livingston Street

The festival is sponsored by theREP’s Neighbors for Neighbors Program (which is sponsored by MVP Health Care) and M&T Bank.

All programming is free and open to the public.

theREP is part of Proctors Collaborative.