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The North Carolina Black Repertory Company: 25 Marvtastic Years
By Dr. Felecia Piggott McMillan, PhD
introduction by Larry Leon Hamlin – Founder, Executive & Artistic Director
The North Carolina Black Repertory Company: 25 Marvtastic Years is the first book solely devoted to the subject of this important cultural force in Black Theatre on both a local and global scale.
Tragically, the founder and leader of both the NC Black Rep and the National Black Theatre Festival, Larry Leon Hamlin, actor, director, producer and writer, the larger than life personage who was the very heart and soul of these important cultural institutions, passed away in early June 2007 in Winston-Salem. He was 58 years old. Open Hand Publishing is quite proud that we published the one book during Mr. Hamlin's lifetime that chronicles the great achievements of this singular personality. We are equally proud that the book was written by an active participant in the repertory company and festival and contains an introduction by Mr. Hamlin, "Mr. Marvtastic" himself.
The North Carolina Black Repertory Company was founded in 1979 by Larry Leon Hamlin as the first, Black professional theatre company in North Carolina. The NCBRC has continued to serve as one of the premier Black Theatre companies in the United States with its roots firmly planted in the ongoing struggle for Black liberation. The NCBRC also hosts the internationally acclaimed biennial National Black Theater Festival. The NCBRC is located in Winston-Salem, NC.
Dr. Felecia Piggott McMillan teaches Theatre Arts and English at George Washington Carver High School in Winston Salem, NC. In 2002, she received her Ph.D. in African American Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. McMillan has been actively involved with the North Carolina Black Repertory Company since its founding in 1979. Dr. McMillan wrote her dissertation, entitled Locating the Neo-Black Aesthetic: Playwrights of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company React to the Black Arts Movement, about the NCBRC. Her involvement with the Black Rep has influenced her in all areas of her life, from teaching Theatre Arts and writing her dissertation, to now completing her first published book with Open Hand Publishing.
As a North Carolina-based publishing house, Open Hand is especially excited to participate in this collaboration with the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, as the group is such a rich element of North Carolina’s cultural and artistic history.
Complementary Book for Education
North Carolina Review for Educators
From the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
[Grades 6-10, Social Studies] This book is an intriguing examination of one of North Carolina's most popular and enduring dramatic companies. Liberally illustrated with black-and-white photographs, this work is inspirational and motivational. Chronicling founder Larry Leon Hamlin's efforts and the resulting success of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, McMillan presents highlights of the group's achievements in chronological order. Theater teachers will find this work to be an excellent supplement to class lessons, and social studies teachers will appreciate the relevance to North Carolina studies. Readers will recognize many famous faces and names among supporters of this esteemed organization. An extensive bibliography encourages further research and study. Multicultural [Arts Education]
(InfoTech Volume 2007: Issue 7, pg 26)
“Ossie and I have applauded Larry Leon as a prime mover over the years. The North Carolina Black Repertory Company is a force that successfully researches and showcases our foundations in American theatre. This book is a fitting tribute to twenty-five years of excellence!”
Ruby Dee, legendary actress of television, stage and screen
“You are so postured to journey into the many poignant and sometimes pungent chapters that illuminate a profound perseverance and prodigious successes of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. Enjoy this ‘marvtastic’ journey.”
Larry Leon Hamlin, Founder, Executive & Artistic Director, North Carolina Black Repertory Company