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Developed through a three-year collaboration between multi-disciplinary performance artist Rotimi Agbabiaka and Cutting Ball Theater, Uptown looking Downtown will celebrate Black excellence and reflect on the complexity and variety of the Black experience in the United States.

Inspired by the vivid and textural collages of Romare Bearden (1911-1988), which are rich with narrative character and a vibrantly asynchronous aesthetic, the work will span artforms. The collaborators also intend to radicalize pathways to reflective community storytelling.

Rotimi Agbabiaka is a San Francisco-based, queer, Nigerian-American writer, performer, director, and teaching artist who uses humor, glamor, and drama to upset the status quo. His plays include Seeing Red, a musical about socialism premiered by the San Francisco Mime Troupe; A Call to Arms, a Spectacular Reckoning, which premiered at Brava! for Women in the Arts; and Type/Caste and Homeless, which won awards for solo performance.

Cutting Ball Theater produces an annual three-show season of new, experimental plays and radically re-envisioned classics. Since its beginnings, it has been a creative home for playwrights and a champion of new plays. Agbabiaka’s Uptown Looking Downtown will be produced as part of Cutting Ball Theater’s 2023-24 season.

Photo by Cody Williams