New Jersey Stage

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cranford's The Theater Project to Present Carlyle Brown's Historical "The African Company Presents Richard III" April 28 through May 15

(Cranford, NJ) -- The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, is proud to present the historical and provocative Carlyle Brown play "The African Company Presents Richard III" from April 28 through May 15.

Performances will take place in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford. Tickets range from $10-25 and are available at Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006 or at More information is available at

134 years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, 108 years before Martin Luther King, Jr was born, and 6 years before enslavement of blacks fully ended in New York state, a theater company of free black actors was passionately performing Shakespearean adaptations and original works in front of packed houses in 1821 Manhattan. The African Company, as they were known, then dared to open their production of Richard III on the same night and right next door to another Richard III production by New York City's leading theater of the time starring English tragedian Junius Brutus Booth. The African Company's refusal to close down and capitulate to the pressure of their white competitors is depicted in this provocative and empowering drama.

The Theater Project believes that a more thoughtful, inspired and creative community can be stimulated by its unique brand of professional, high-quality and theatrical programming. It is dedicated to the presentation of powerful and relevant productions that explore contemporary values and topic issues in an intimate and engaging setting.

Committed to strengthening the bond our professional artists have with our patrons and donors, The Theater Project provides our Central New Jersey community with a broad range of affordable programming -- ranging from rarely-seen productions to educational offerings and programs supporting next-generation actors and playwrights to a safe developmental environment for the cultivation of new plays by authors of all ages -- in celebration of the special interactive relationship between artists and audiences only live theater can provide.

Due to Union County College's plans to utilize its Roy Smith Theater differently going forward, The Theater Project is actively seeking a new performance venue and home beginning in late Spring at the conclusion of this production. The company's priority is to stay close to its loyal audience and remain in the Cranford and Union County area. It hopes to find an existing performance space and willing partnering entity to collaborate for years to come.

"If a local business operator, building owner, school, or arts organization is interested in discussing future partnering opportunities with The Theater Project, we are eager to hear from them," says Mark Spina, Artistic Director and founder. "Our 17-year roots are right here in Union County and we owe it to our loyal audiences to turn over every stone in search of a new home so that we may continue our mission to bring live, high quality and affordable theatre to our friends and neighbors."