Downtown Urban Arts Festival to celebrate 20th anniversary this June

Downtown Urban Arts Festival
Photo: Google Maps

This June, Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a line-up of must-see original shows.

From June 1-25, present four full-length plays and 12 one-acts at Theatre Row, located at 410 W 42nd Street. The new works showcased for the 20th anniversary will shine a spotlight on contemporary urban culture.

The centerpiece of this year’s DUAF is “B-Boy Blues The Play,” by James Earl Hardy. In this play, opposites attract and cultures clash when a journalist and a homeboy bike messenger fall in love. The play is based on Hardy’s novel series that has been praised as the first gay hip-hop love story. Directed by Stanley Bennett Clay, the performances will take place at 8 p.m. on June 3, 4, 10, 11 and 17 and at 2 p.m. on June 18 and 25.

Over the past 20 years, DUAF has presented almost 300 new plays by over 200 emerging and established playwrights, such as Martyna Majok, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Carl Hancock Rux, Craig MuMs Grant, Dominique Morisseau, and Ming Peiffer. When the DUAF theater program was founded in 2001, the purpose was to build a repertoire of new American theatre that echoes the true spirit of urban life and speaks to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. Over the years, that goal has been realized as over 200 writers have created and refined their works on DUAF stages and audience members applauded their performances.

The program has been recognized as “one of the world’s best festivals for new works” and described as “not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves” by Lisa Mulcahy, Theater Festivals, Allworth Press in 2005. DUAF works have been presented at venues including Cherry Lane, HERE, Joe’s Pub, Abrons Arts Center, Wild Project and Nuyorican Poets Café.

DUAF is supported in part by public funds New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Arcos Communications is a Founding Sponsor of DUAF, and it is presented by Creative Ammo Inc., receiving support as part of the Coalition Theaters of Color, a New York City Council initiative to support the operations and programming of theaters and cultural organizations primarily in communities of color.

For more information, to see the full line-up, and to buy tickets, visit duafnyc.com.