Welcome Aspiring Artists!

"Imagine a place where you can share your wildest dreams and the challenges that accompany them. Imagine being with a group of people who have achieved respect and success in the industry; yet they're willing to share their secrets. I really wish this was available when I got started in this business 15 years ago. That's why I created Creative Connections"   ~Toni Simmons Henson, Founder ABTF  

Creative Connections: Master Classes

Wed. Oct. 3 @ 10:15am - 11:45am


Session 1: Mock Audition with Celebrity/Experts: DeEtta West, Akil Dupont, Taurean Blacque, Keith Arthur Bolden  You'll meet and get feedback from the best of Atlanta's artists who have made their mark on all the majors including: OWN, UPTV, ASPiRE, WGN, and more.  Facilitated by: Andre' Minkins, MFA. Tenured Professor at Winston-Salem State and prominent  theatre/film festival expert.  Come prepared with an audition monologue. 


Wed. Oct. 3 @ 12:00pm - 1:00pm


Session 2: Networking at Noon

 Staying Relevant in a Shifting Industry

Angela Ray: Fresh off her New York Times critically acclaimed performance on the hit show, Atlanta, Ms. Ray dishes the dirt on what's makes her sustainable. The discussion will be focused on how to create connections, stay relevant, and work and thrive in a collaborative, yet changing environment.  

Yohance Myles: currently known for his recurring role on OWN’s Network “Queen Sugar” as D’Andre. He can be recently seen on FOX TV series, ”Shots Fired”, starring as Leon Grant. The series discussed some difficult topics such as racially charged shootings and injustices. 


Wed. Oct. 3 @ 1:15pm - 2:45pm


Session 3: Master Class

Acting Techniques with award-winning Actor, Director and Producer, Keith Franklin of the renowned New African Grove Theatre Co.

Thu. Oct. 4 @ 9:30am - 11:30am


Town Hall Breakfast: It's Time to Celebrate!  Thu. Oct. 4 @ 9:30am 

Theatre (especially Black theatre) has been "dying" for decades. What has sustained us? How do we prepare for the future in a booming digital world?

Check out our incredible panel:
* Robert John Conner: Dominion Entertainment Group, LLC
* Jamil Jude: Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Co.
* Keith Franklin: of the New African Grove Theatre Co.
* Thomas Pinkney: Alliance Theater

Featuring: Chicken & Waffles!    Town Hall Moderated by Kiplyn Primus, Host of The Local Take on Jazz 91.9 WCLK, Atlanta’s Jazz Station. 

(Proceeds benefit the ABTF) 

Location: Back Stage Cafe

Thu. Oct. 4 @ 12:00pm - 1:15pm


Session 3: Master Class

Pitch Your Script for the Next ABTF!

Learn the secrets of how we recognize a good script. When brand building it is all about affiliation. Before your put your name on it, learn the best practices from Andre' Minkins, MFA. Tenured Professor at Winston-Salem State and prominent  theatre/film festival expert. You will also have the oppotunity to render a 2-minute pitch for consideration for next year's festival!  READ MORE...

Thu. Oct. 4 @ 1:30am - 2:45pm


Session 4: Master Class

Coming Home -Incorporating African Characters into Plays with playwright and producer, Ciatta-Mae Stubblefield 

Fri. Oct. 5 @ 10:30am - 11:45am


Session 6: Master class


Clarify values. Define success. Design a strategy to achieve it. A healthy ego is as necessary 

as competence in creating art. Society fosters fear that failure is likely for artists in general, 

and virtually inevitable for theatre artists of color. Support is seen as promoting strategies 

to cope with failure – “Brace yourself to fail” OR “plan to succeed”. Learn the difference with the legendary Dr. Carlton Molette!


Fri. Oct. 5 @ 12:30pm - 2:00pm


Session 7: Networking at Noon 

Meet the Producers of the ABTF! 

Lunch on your own.


Fri. Oct. 5 @ 1:45pm - 3:00pm


Session 8: Ask the Experts: The Role of Technology in a Quality Production  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask experts in various fields of expertise questions about their individual situations, about insights and trends in the industry, and hear from other professionals in the room. Industry Connector/Facilitator: Ronn Greene. Guest Panelists: lark hackshaw, Shawncy Moon, and D. Venson.


"I continue to reflect on the amazing weekend of theater...[en]visioned and manifested in Atlanta!   It is indeed a testament...that such a magnificent event came into existence!  ~Alia Jones-Harvey, Broadway Producer