Work-in-Progress: The Champion

Joy Jones as Nina (film still - 2)

North Carolina on a cold winter night in 1962. Nina Simone and her trio have just come off tour and are desperate to get home. A snowstorm has grounded their flight, so they wander into town and end up at a tiny greasy spoon run by locals who are dazzled by the presence of four glamorous strangers. But when the band suddenly find themselves accused of a crime they didn’t commit, neither local goodwill nor star power will be enough to get them home.

The Champion offers a rare look into the heart and mind of an artist known as much for her indictment of American racism as her artistic brilliance. The project began in 2006 as a collaboration between American playwright Amy Evans and UK-based director Mark Rosenblatt and actor Noma Dumezweni. The team embarked on a period of extensive research, including personal interviews and a series of workshops, all of which helped generate material for the script. The result is an intimate portrayal of a cultural icon, the outstanding musicians who worked with her, and the turbulent era during which they rose to fame.

On May 8, 2014, 651 ARTS will present The Champion to the public as a staged reading for the first time in the United States (venue TBC). Following the performance, the audience will be invited to share their responses to the play with the company, playwright, and special guests. This key moment of interaction will unearth the most urgent themes raised in the play, feeding directly into the further growth of the project.

This project needs your support! Please click here to learn more about how you can get involved in The Champion.