A Celebration of Art, Voice and Imagination
May 16 – June 6, 2021
Join us outdoors this spring, at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Building in Bethesda.
The festival will celebrate extraordinary voices and ideas, showcasing a number of multidisciplinary events including play readings, poets, salons and conversations.
PLEASE NOTE: Per County guidelines, no tickets will be available for purchase onsite. All tickets must be purchased in advance by phone or online. Due to safety considerations, all seating will be assigned in advance. When you purchase your ticket, please indicate any seating requests or accessibility accommodations in the “notes” section.
ALL EVENTS will take place in the courtyard of the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation Building, 6301 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
Sun May 16 at 2 p.m.: Nothing to Lose by Denise Hart; Directed by Steven Levya, with Q and A to follow
Rain date Sat May 22
Family. Love. Race. Betrayal. Honor…
Set in Omaha Nebraska six months after Hurricane Katrina. After two 13 year old black male cousins end up dead after a gang initiation goes awry, black television newscaster Stephen Campbell struggles to come to terms with his inability to prevent the deaths. Campbell had been a mentor to the one of the youth, but his efforts to be a role model seem to have been in vain. The tragedy awakens Campbell’s conflicting intra-racial views and threaten to tear apart what Campbell treasures the most, his very own family. Finalist in the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Competition. Finalist in the 2012 Black & Latino Playwrights Conference.
Please note: Nothing to Lose contains strong language.
Sun May 23 at 2 p.m.: Salon and Poetry Reading/Musical Performance, featuring Michele Simms-Burton, Le Hinton and Enrique Reynosa
Rain date Sat May 29
Michele L. Simms-Burton is a retired university professor of American literature and African American studies, writer, and photographer. She continues to lecture throughout the world about topics pertaining to African American culture. She is based in metro DC.
Poet, teacher, lecturer, Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work has been widely published and can be found in The Best American Poetry 2014, the Baltimore Review, the Pittsburgh Poetry Review, the Summerset Review, the Skinny Poetry Journal, Valley Voices: A Literary Review, and in other publications. His poem “Epidemic” was honored by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and “Our Ballpark” can be found outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread.
Enrique Reynosa, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, completed his Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. He has also obtained a Master’s Degree and an Artist Certificate in Violin Performance at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California and the Doctorate in Musical Arts program at The Catholic University of America under the direction of maestro Jose Cueto.
Dr. Reynosa won First Place for the State of Virginia in the MTNA Chamber Music Competition of 2004 as the leader of the Vitali String Quartet, and the 3rd Place at the 2015 Euterpe International Music Competition in Corato, Italy with the International DC Trio. Enrique has toured with orchestras in Italy, South Korea, Uruguay, Panama, Mexico, Canada and United States.
Sun May 30 at 2 p.m.: Sophisticated New Ones by Keith Powell; Directed by Dawn Thomas Reidy
Rain date Sat June 5
Sophisticated New Ones explores the intersection of identity, belonging, and antique furniture, as a family grapples with their present and future, living within a country they no longer recognize.
Keith Powell is an American television actor, writer, director, and web series creator, known for his role as James “Toofer” Spurlock on 30 Rock, and for creating and starring in the web series Keith Broke His Leg, for which he won several Indie Series Awards in 2016.
Sun June 6 at 2 p.m.: Poetry Reading and Salon, featuring Steven Levya and Kwame R. Vanderhorst
Rain date Sat June 12
Steven Leyva was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 2 Bridges Review, Scalawag, Nashville Review, jubilat, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner, and Best American Poetry 2020. He is a Cave Canem fellow and author of the chapbook Low Parish and author of The Understudy’s Handbook which won the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from Washington Writers Publishing House. Steven holds an MFA from the University of Baltimore, where he is an assistant professor in the Klein Family School of Communications Design.
Kwame R. Vanderhorst is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. Mr. Vanderhorst is Co-Founder of Prepare Our Youth, Inc. Prepare Our Youth is a nonprofit organization servicing children, youth, and families, based in Washington, DC. Mr. Vanderhorst is a speaker, mentor, trainer and author. He has written and published eight books, including Smellin’ Ourselves, Call Me A Playa Hater, and Rearing African Children under American Occupation.
Unexpected Stage is carefully following COVID safety protocols. We ask that all attendees wear masks. When you purchase your ticket, there is an opportunity to let us know who if you’ll be attending with someone else in your “bubble.”
For any questions or concerns regarding precautions, please email email@example.com or call 301-337-8290.