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Multicultural Theatre Festival to feature “Jungle Kings” and “Moonshine”

February 13, 2014 By Valeria Davis

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s first Multicultural Theatre Festival, featuring performances that celebrate legacies, creativity and artists, will be held later this month.

Patrick Sims

Patrick Sims

The festival “is a response to provide all students, in particular students of color, an opportunity to reflect and express their heritage, culture and tradition through performance, song and dance,” says Interim Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick J. Sims.

The festival is sponsored by the UW-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement and one of its units, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI), in partnership with the vice provost for the Division of Student Life.

“Original works as well as those of prominent poets, playwrights, storytellers, choreographers and artisans are highlighted to offer new and exciting ways to experience the many cultures of our students through the uniting power of the arts,” Sims adds.

The inaugural festival features two works: “Jungle Kings,” a play about a young man imprisoned for a gang-initiation crime, and “Moonshine,” a dance-focused performance in celebration of Black History Month. Both pieces will be held in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space on the third floor of Lathrop Hall.

“Jungle Kings” kicks off the festival with a matinee performance on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. with another show that day at 7 p.m. The final performance of “Jungle Kings is Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. followed by a reception and symposium at 4 p.m. in the Virginia Harrison Parlor, also located in Lathrop Hall, where attendees will meet the cast and creators of both shows and discuss the productions’ themes.

“Moonshineis scheduled for one performance on Friday, Feb. 28, at 3:30 p.m. All performances are free, open to the public, and non-ticketed.

“Jungle Kings”is written and directed by Rain Wilson, a recent addition to OMAI who is serving the First Wave program as creative and academic advisor.

Prior to joining UW–Madison, Wilson worked with youth labeled “at risk” in afterschool programs, workshops, and the juvenile prison system.

In her words, she wrote the play “because of the fierce voices that would rise in these young men to describe to me what ice felt like when they had to touch it every day. I felt the lovelessness coming from their stories of defeat. … I did not feel that they needed pity, but that they needed their voices to be channeled in a way that people would listen.”

“Moonshine is directed by Chris Walker, assistant professor of dance, and has become an annual campus tradition. The dance performance includes elements of African, Caribbean and contemporary dance, hip-hop, spoken word, poetry, drumming, chanting and singing.

Those planning to join the cast and directors from this year’s festival at the reception and symposium on Feb. 23 may register here.