Rickerby Hinds’ latest play on the national stage

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martinez
February 22, 2023

Rickerby M. Hinds’ new commissioned play will be included in Ford’s Theatre 2024-25 season.

The announcement came earlier this month when Hinds’ latest play, Blackbox, was included in a three-day public festival of readings at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Hinds, a professor of theatre, film, and digital production, is part of the first cohort of Black, Indigenous and People of Color, or BIPOC, playwrights who are developing a play for The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions initiative

According to Ford’s Theatre’s website, the initiative intends to broaden the American theatre canon and “serve as an artistic incubator for stories about social justice and racial history and explore the varied experiences of underrepresented characters and lesser-known historical figures and their contributions to American life.” 

Hinds is one of five playwrights developing plays for Ford’s Theatre. Blackbox is a hip-hop retelling of abolitionist Henry Box Brown’s escape to freedom. Brown was also a magician and illusionist who in 1849 arranged to have himself mailed in a wooden crate from Virginia to abolitionists contacts in Philadelphia. 

“A re-envisioning of the box in which Henry spent 27 hours on his way to freedom … allows me to address some of the horrors of Henry’s life in a ‘spectacular’ way,” Hinds said. “Movement will play a significant role in Blackbox as Henry will employ movement from turf dance to butoh to convey the atrocities of the institution of American chattel slavery imposed on the Africans who were imported and bred for servitude to evil slave masters for centuries.”

The play’s development is supported by CalArts.

Rickerby Hinds (far left) at Ford's Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Stu Krieger)