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Amara Tabor Smith of Deep Waters Dance Theater, Ellen Sebastian Chang, and Chapter 510 & the Department of Make Believe are bringing a portion of their two-year, multi-site episodic performance project, House/Full of Blackwomen , to Oakland, beginning on March 26. The work addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.

At the core of this episode, “Black Women Dreaming” will be a durational ritual of black women sleeping, resting, and dreaming over seven consecutive days and nights in a secret location in Oakland. Black women can sign up to participate for a period of no less than two hours and up to 10 consecutive/overnight hours during the week.

During this week, Chapter 510 & The Department of Make Believe (2301 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland), and Regina’s Door (352 – 17th Street, Oakland) will present related gallery installations and free public events. The project design team, Dana Kawano, Shelley Davis Roberts, Alexa Burrell and Yoshi Asai will create gallery installations that will include a beautiful ancestral altar in honor of Harriet Tubman, who received visions from her own episodes of narcolepsy. The installation at Regina’s Door will represent a “DayDreaming Room”, a place for the public to relax, tell stories, share dreams, and quilt. Chapter 510 will host the “Night Room”, designed as a magical-realism landscape where visitors experience sounds and visuals of nature, dreams, lullabies, and naps; and “The Lounge”, a place to meditate, drink tea, and get a foot massage. Both sites will host public talks and audience-engaged experiences on the importance of sleep and dreaming.

This project episode also will feature two writing workshops for black girls. Beginning Saturday, March 4, teen girls will gather on five consecutive Saturdays with teaching artist Amber McZeal to explore the need and value for rest, daydreaming, and night dreaming. A second workshop, for girls ages 8-12 will be offered April 3-6. Writing from these workshops will be published in a limited edition, hand-made book released and shared on April 7 at Chapter 510.

A list of project events follows:

  • March 4-April 1, 12-2 pm, Black Girls Dreaming: A Writing Workshop for Rest (Ages 13-18), at Chapter 510 & The Department of Make Believe
  • March 26, 4 pm-April 3, 12 pm, Black Women Dreaming — A Ritual Rest: A durational performance ritual for black women to sleep, rest, and dream intentionally over a period of seven consecutive days and nights, at an undisclosed West Oakland location
  • March 26, 4-6 pm, The Blessing of the Beds — Opening Ritual: Gallery opening of Lounge and Night Room with singer gina Breedlove and elder Two-Spirit Medicine Conjurer Lea Tupili Arellano, at Chapter 510 & The Department of Make Believe
  • March 29-April 7, Dream Installations and Gallery: 1-6 p.m Lounge and Night Room at Chapter 510; 12-5 pm Daydreaming at Regina’s Door
  • March 31, 7-9 pm, Decolonize Your Dreams: Performances and a talk at Chapter 510 & The Department of Make Believe
  • April 3-6, 9:30 am-12:00 pm, Black Girls Dreaming: Spring Break Writing Camp (Ages 8-12) at Chapter 501 & The Department of Make Believe
  • April 7, 5-10 pm, “The Oracle Speaks: Dreams from the Dreamers,” closing event and performance ritual at Regina’s Door.

For updates, further listings of participating artists, and other details, visit the House/Full of Blackwomen website.