In this behind the scenes interview, associate producer of The New Griots Festival AsaleSol Young answers some questions about this year's festival and her experiences. After you read the interview, check out the schedule and featured artists. Then get your tickets fast! Space is limited and I highly recommend experiencing this festival for yourself. Both of my own 2017 audience experiences were profound and artistically stunning; so far I've seen The Minority Report by Blackout and ABB (Angry Black Bi&^%#$) featuring Dame-Jasmine Hughes. Also, the price is affordable: tickets for the performances are $9 and the classes are free.
You can support the work of The New Griots Festival by donating now.
AsaleSol: A dreamer and visionary, first. Writer. And dare I say, producer, director, curator and dancer.
AsaleSol: Jamil Jude and I were introduced through a mutual friend in the theater scene who is encouraging me to get back into one of my first passions - theater. It was clear in our first meeting that we would work and vibe well together. We stayed in touch, and eventually Jamil invited me to come on staff as the associate producer.
AsaleSol: Seeing our work and the work of the artists be so well-received. The festival has true supporters out there, which really allows us to fulfill our mission of “celebrating, advocating for, and advancing the careers of emerging Black artists in the Twin Cities."
How has it been working at the Guthrie Theater?
AsaleSol: The Guthrie staff, those we work closest with in the [Dowling} Studio, have really been accommodating and willing to adjust their workflow to our style and what we need to be successful. But all throughout the theater, when I’m just walking around representing New Griots Festival, Guthrie staff will just come up to me and tell me how excited they are to have NGF in the space. Staff of color as well as white staff seem to have a sense of a historic moment for the Guthrie reflected in this partnership. It’s pretty cool. Folks in and outside of the Guthrie feel this is long overdue.
What has it been like collaborating with all these emerging Black artists?
AsaleSol: It has been an inspiring journey. To be able to work with such a range of talent, genre, experience, etc. We’ve been able to witness some of our artists transform right in front of us, while others bring to the forefront this hidden mastery that really deserves acknowledgement from the Twin Cities’ arts community at large.
Describe the festival in three words.
AsaleSol: Authentic. Masterful. Catalyst.
AsaleSol: We are already planning The New Griots Festival 2019. Come out and see what we’re doing now, and support the future of these artists and the work of the festival. It’s one of those things that gets stronger every year it goes up. Don’t miss out!
Tickets for The New Griots Festival
July 6-16, 2017
The 2017 New Griots Festival aims to celebrate, advocate and advance the careers of emerging Black artists in the Twin Cities. In addition to performances by 10 emerging artists, running July 6-16 at the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio, the festival offers free artist-taught classes for the community. Individual performance tickets are $9 and are on sale now through the box office at 612-377-2224 or by visiting guthrietheater.org. Free class registration is also available by phone through the box office.
Keno Evol - Poetry
Antonio Duke - Playwright/Performer
Vie Boheme - Dancer/Vocalist/Performer
Blackout - Improv/Theatre
Dame-Jasmine Hughes -TV Writer/Theatre/Performer
Isaac Sundberg - Photography
April Gibson - Poetry
Miss Coco Nostal'jah - Aerialist
Shaina McCoy - Painter
Arthur "L.A." Buckner - Musician
Follow The New Griots Festival on Twitter: @NewGriotsFest and on Facebook. Also, follow the conversation with hashtag #OurTurnNow.
Level Nine, Dowling Studio
818 S 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415