Watch the recording of this reading and post-reading discussion until Friday, July 24 at 11:59pm EST. Click here to watch.

Ruth coaxes her dementia-ridden mother, Magalee, to sell Shadowland, the family business and New Orleans’ first air-conditioned dancehall/hotel for Black people. But as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin, Ruth is forced to wrestle with all that she’s ready to let go. The first installment of an epic 10-play Katrina Cycle, shadow/land is an examination of environmental racism & the erasure of Black land legacies through the distress of disaster, evacuation, displacement & urban renewal.

Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk, queer feminist poet-playwright and cultural/memory worker from Chicago, Illinois. She is a 2020 Grist 50 Fixer and was a National Arts & Culture Delegate for the U.S. Water Alliance’s One Water Summit 2019. Awards: Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award (2020), Thom Thomas Award (2020), L. Arnold Weissberger Award finalist (2020), Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2019). Residencies & Fellowships: Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater (2019-2020), New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence (2019), New Harmony Project Writer-in Residence (2019), Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow (2018-2019), The Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow (2018). Communities: BYP100 Squad Member, Ars Nova Play Group (2019-2021), Youngblood Collective (EST). Commissions: The Public Theater and Studio Theatre. Productions: cullud wattah (2019 Kilroys List).

Candis C. Jones (Director) Selected Credits: cullud wattah (The Public Theater), 53% OF (The Alliance Theater), Trapt (Joe’s Pub), House of the Negro Insane (Bay Area Playwrights Festival), Pipeline (Detroit Public Theater), shadow/land (Faultline Theater), Nike (A.C.T. New Strands Festival), Gloria (American Academy), The Wolves (American Academy), Brother Rabbit (New Black Fest), Name Calling (Kennedy Center), New Shoes (The Drama League), Morning in America (Primary Stages), TEMBO! (Zanzibar International Film Fest). Upcoming: Venus (New School University), Baltimore (Rampo College). Awards and Fellowships: Lilly Award, WP Theater’s 2018-2020 Lab, Drama League Alumni.

Shana M. griffin is a black feminist activist, independent researcher, applied sociologist, artist, and geographer. Her practice is interdisciplinary and undisciplinary, working across the fields of sociology, geography, socially engaged art, and land-use planning and within movements challenging urban displacement, carcerality, reproductive control, and gender-based violence. She engages in research, organizing projects, and art practices that attend to the lived experiences of the black Diaspora—centering the particular experiences of black women most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, incarceration, polluted environments, reproductive legislation, economic exploitation, and housing discrimination. Shana is the founder of PUNCTUATE, a recently formed black feminist-based initiative integrating critical research methods with activism and socially engaged multimedia projects to address the intersecting forms of everyday violence and subjectivity black women, their families, and communities experience in the context of housing access and land-use planning, climate impacts, reproductive control and surveillance, carcerality, and gender violence. She’s also the Associate Director of Antenna, a multidisciplinary visual and literary arts organization. Shana is the creator of DISPLACED, a multimedia and public history project that chronicles the institutionalization of spatial residential segregation through the violence of racial slavery and displacement in New Orleans, and co-founder of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, the first community land trust in New Orleans. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees—History and Sociology, and a Master’s of Arts in Sociology from the University of New Orleans.

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