Welcome to Melvin Tolson High School. It’s summer school, it’s hot, the barbed wire fence is fixed, and a young African-American boy has been shot, leaving his group of friends reeling from the loss and wondering if their voices will ever be heard.
Enter a former Great Debater to teach a master class on public speaking and challenge this group of boys to speak out and give voice to their hopes and fears. This is the story of “Black Book” an award-winning one-man play by actor/playwright Austin Dean Ashford.
Filled with pressing issues, inspiring characters, and comedy, “Black Book” debates what happens to young minds when our educational spaces begin to resemble a prison more than school and a place to learn and grow.
Austin Dean Ashford competed with The Great Debaters of Wiley College.
Playwright and actor Austin Dean Ashford is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts at Texas Tech University. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he competed with The Great Debaters of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where he earned 21 national championship titles. He earned a dual-MFA in Acting and Playwriting at the University of Arkansas, graduating in 2019. He has received top honors at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., the United Solo Festival in New York City, the San Diego International Fringe Festival, and the Dunedin and New Zealand Fringe Festivals.
Recently, he was nominated for a Latin Grammy and became a Hip Hop Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Embassy.
This special engagement of “Black Book” happens Friday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Studio Theatre in the François Fine Arts Building on the Sul Ross Alpine campus. Admission is free. Seating is limited. To make reservations, visit www.bit.ly/sulross-theatre.
For more information, contact the Sul Ross Visual and Performing Arts Department at 432-837-8218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.