Friday, March 21, 2008


The Southern ROOTS Collective was born out of  a mutual respect and friendship among artists living in the deep south representing original jazz, hip-hop and spoken word. This collection of artists includes M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) from Raymond, Mississippi, Sunni Patterson, Courtney Bryan and Saddi Khali, all of whom are from New Orleans, Louisiana. This group represents a new generation of national artists collaborating to use their art for positive social change. This group will be in residence with Junebug Production, Inc's Free Southern Theater Institute from MArch 27th through April 3rd.  

The Southern ROOTS Collective will perform at Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., Friday, March 28th and Saturday, March 29th. Both performances will take place at 7:30 PM.

Tickets are $12.00 and available at the box office. For more information please call (504) 577-0732

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Free Southern Theater Institute

Junebug Productions Presents


An evening of original work written and performed by participants of Junebug Productions’ Katrina Story Project

Performance April 3rd, 7:30 PM at the
Contemporary Arts Center
900 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA

Ticket are $12.00 and available at the box office, or visit the Comtemporary Arts Center Website at
or call (504) 577-0732

Written and performed by Taylor Britton, Kirk Bush, Maila Jones, Krystal Kofie, Katie Loemelis, Dana WebbDirected by Kiyoko McCrae

Through monologues, spoken word, and movement, these young artists confront and share challenges they face post-Katrina and explore how race and racism shape their lives and identity.

The original work in this performance was created through a twelve-week course facilitated by Junebug Productions Artistic Director, John O’Neal, Kiyoko McCrae and Stephanie McKee.

Participants include community members and students from Tulane University and Xavier University. The pieces were constructed from stories shared in story circles throughout the course and a photo language exercise based around the following questions:

What is home?
What is exploitation?
What does Katrina mean to you?

This course, Introduction to Community Arts Practice, is the first in a series of courses offered by Junebug Productions’ Free Southern Theater Institute for Theater, Art and Community Development (FSTI), a laboratory for community-based cultural engagement and learning.

FSTI trains individuals who wish to develop professional capacity to work as artists and managers of cultural programs to advance progressive social change in communities of oppressed and exploited people.

We are currently looking for more participants for our next course session. This program is open to all community members. If you are interested in joining us, or wish to make a donation to the project, please contact us.

Kiyoko McCrae
Program and Development Associate
Junebug Productions Inc.
P.O. Box 2331New Orleans, LA 70176
586-283-2729 f.

Performance at New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center April 4th, 7:30 PM


John O'Neal
Ron Castine and Glenda Lindsay

Directed by
Steve Kent
(Based on a production directed by Curtis L. King)

Junebug Jabbo Jones......................................John O'Neal


Right Here


Right Now

There will be one intermission

The play was premiered by the Provisional Theatre in 1982. Earlier versions of the play were presented as work-in-progress by the Free Southern Theater, the Black Theater Alliance of New York and the Baltimore Theater Project. All rights are strictly reserved.
DON'T START ME TO TALKING OR I'LL TELL YOU EVERYTHING I KNOW: SAYINGS FROM THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF JUNEBUG JABBO JONES was developed with support from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation, the California Arts Council and Alternate Roots.

Tickets for the April 4th, 2008 Performance can be purchased at the box office, or at the Contemporary Arts Website

For more information, or special ticket prices please call (504) 577-0732

About the play.........................................

DON'T START ME TO TALKING OR I'LL TELL YOU EVERYTHING I a remarkable collection of six tales and anecdotes as told by the folkloric character, Junebug Jabbo Jones.
In "I'm Who It Is Talking To You", Junebug tells of his history and background. "Junebug Jabbo Jones," the mythic storyteller informs us, "it ain't my name, it's a title of a job I got to 'prince' or 'king' or something like that." Speaking more personally, our Junebug tells of his own experiences growing up in Pike County, Mississippi in "In Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home". The first act ends with "Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleep", a bitter-sweet tale about what happened when Junebug left home to make his way in the big world outside of his home near Four Corners, Mississippi.
Act Two opens with a traditional stubborn mule story. In "Senator Bilbo and Miz Bessie Mae", Junebug reveals how his grandfather got even with a no good politician. "Down In The Boys Gym" is the humorous yet touching story about coming of age in the fifties. The most poignant point in the play occurs at the end of the evening when "Tommie Too Tuff Tucker", an old disc jockey who' been displaced by "progress" is no longer able to distinguish what's real and what's not.
As Junebug clears the stage, he sums up the proceedings with an "Epilogue" before moving on to the next stop.
Since 1980, John O'Neal has presented the Junebug character in DON'T START ME TO the enthusiastic response of audiences and critics throughout the United States, Canada, France and Scandinavia.

There will be one intermission

About the character, Junebug Jabbo Jones....................

The Junebug character that we have created three plays around is a folk character in the fullest sense of the term despite the fact that most of the folk who participated in the generation of the character are literate. Although Junebug himself can be dated back to the early nineteen sixties, he is an expression of a generic character type as old as the ages. Wherever and whenever oppressed people have taken stock of their situations and begun to consider what to do about it, Junebug or somebody like him may be found nearby....
Junebug comes from a long line of African storytellers. Aesop, the African was one of Junebug's forebearers. The innumerable praise-singers, the oral historians who have carried the records of events and the families of African peoples from time immemorial to now, are ancestors to the Junebug. The tales of Anansi the spider, the Uncle Remus tales, the John and Master tales, Langston Hughes' character, Simple, the street corner poets who chime the rhymes of Shine and Stagolee.............all these and more are ancestors to this keeper of dreams and other sacred things.


Junebug Productions is a professional African American arts organization located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Its mission is to create, produce, and present high quality theater, dance and music that inspire and support people who work for justice in the African American community and in the world-at-large. Junebug Productions currently has 10 plays in its repertoire, three of them inter cultural collaborations. For the past 19 years, the company has toured the U.S. and performed internationally. John O'Neal, Junebug's artistic director, co-founded the Free Southern Theater in 1963 as a cultural arm of the southern Civil Rights Movement. In the post-segregation era, Junebug Productions remains conscious of those bloody, difficult integration struggles that have now created a new set of equally challenging conditions. A vital legacy of the Movement is the recognition that the greatest subsidies required for the development of culture usually come from the artists themselves. Therefore, Junebug Productions has evolved a working style based on collaboration among creative artists, managers, and community organizations who share a commitment to similar goals and a desire to maximize scarce resources.


Playwright and Actor

Since 1963, John O'Neal has been a leading advocate of the view that "politics" and "art" are complementary not opposing terms. His work as a writer, performer and director has taken him to audiences throughout North America and to Europe.
Born on September 25, 1940 in Mound City, Illinois, O'Neal earned a BA degree from Southern Illinois University in 1962. Upon graduation he became a Field Secretary of the Student Nonviolent coordinating Committee. From this involvement came the Free Southern Theater, which began as the Tougaloo Drama Workshop, founded by Mr. O'Neal and Gilbert Moses at Tougaloo College in 1963, and grew to become a theater of national significance. Settling in New Orleans in 1965, the Free Southern Theater combined a touring repertory company, a community engagement program in New Orleans, and training workshops in Black Theater. (Often, communities touched by the touring Theater developed their won Black Theater programs.) FST's purpose was "to use theater as an instrument to stimulate the development of critical and reflective thought among Black people in the South" and to support the efforts of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The FST expired in 1980. That same year O'Neal organized Junebug Productions, an arts organization based in New Orleans which he now serves as Artistic Director. Junebug Productions operates a nationally acclaimed touring theater company, a presenting program and a community cultural development program in New Orleans.
Among the plays he has written are Hurricane Season; Where is the Blood Of Your Fathers; When The Opportunity Scratches, Itch It; book and lyrics for a musical comedy, Preacher Man! Preacher Man!; and Jerusalem Gallows Dream. As a writer he has also participated in several collaborations: If I live to see Next Fall, written and directed in collaboration with the Play Group of Knoxville, TN and songwriter/organizer Si Kahn. He has also collaborated on the writing of The Mozamgola Caper with Joan Holden and others from the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The Junebug Jabbo Jones Cycle of Plays is made up of three plays:
Don't Start Me to Talking or I'll Tell Everything I know: Sayings From the Life and Writings of Junebug Jabbo Jones, written and performed by O'Neal was premiered in 1980 under the direction of Curtis L. King. The piece was brought to its final form through a developmental collaboration with Steven Kent.
In 1985 O'Neal and Kent were joined by new collaborators for work on the second piece for the Junebug character. Poet and playwright Barbara Watkins, Seven Stages Theater of Atlanta, GA and the Wisdom Bridge Theater of Chicago, helped to create You Can't Judge a Book By Looking At The Cover: Sayings From The Life And Writings Of Junebug Jabbo Jones.
The third play, 'Til The Midnight Hour: Sayings From The Life And Writings of Junebug Jabbo Jones is written and performed by O'Neal with Kent directing. The Carver Cultural Center of San Antonio, Texas co-commissioned the new play in collaboration with Junebug Productions.
"Junebug" has performed to enthusiastic audiences all across America and in several international locations. In the past 17 years Mr. O'Neal has performed and taught in all but two of the United States which have included all of the major cities, numerous small towns, large universities, small colleges, one room school houses, and for many community organizations. He has also been the featured speaker and/or lecturer in many public celebrations, events and classrooms.
His collaborations as a writer-performer include a two person play about the mythic character, Junebug Jabbo Jones, called Ain't No Use In Goin Home, Jodie's Got Your Gal and Gone. Jodie.... is a full length drama with music, performed by O'Neal and Michael Keck who also wrote the music. There are also four collaborations with other theater companies:
Junebug/Jack and Roadbug are musical plays by the Junebug company and Roadside Theater, an Appalachian theater company from Whitesburg, KY. Crossing The Broken Bridge is a collaboration between director Steve Kent, and Naomi Newman of A Traveling Jewish Theater. Promise of a Love Song is a collaboration between Junebug Productions, Roadside Theater and Pregones Theater, a Puerto Rican theater company from the Bronx, NY.
The newest play to be added to Junebug's repertoire is, Like Poison Ivy: Variations on Mood Indigo, a play about Environmental Racism and its devastating consequences on the lives of the people it effects. The play was originally written for Junebug Productions' Environmental Justice Festival in New Orleans, and was premiered in New Orleans in August 2003. Preacher Man! Preacher Man!, is a full musical play, set in New Orleans, with music by Roger Dickerson, and will be produced in 2004-2005.
Mr. O'Neal has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, among them the Louisiana Artist's Fellowship in Theater and grants from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. In 1988 he was awarded a major fellowship for play writing from the Rockefeller Foundation. He was awarded an NEA Play writing Fellowship in 1990 for work on a epic poetic drama about the slave insurrectionist, Nat Turner. O'Neal is one of three subjects in Doubleday's biography for young readers by Tom Cohen, Three Who Dared.
In 2003 Mr. O'Neal, and his business partner, Theresa Holden, won the prestigious Ford Foundatoin Award, "The Leadership for a Changing World Award"for their work on their national, multi-year Color Line Project.
His essays and plays have been published in numerous books and journals such as The Black Scholar, Tulane Drama Review, Black World, American Dialog, Yale Theatre, Plays From The Southern Theater and The Black Aesthetic. His poetry has also been published in New Black Voices. He is a regularly featured columnist in Southern Exposure magazine, and contributed an essay on Junebug's Environmental Justice Project to a forthcoming book on environmental racism.
Mr. O'Neal completed a three-year stint as Visiting Professor in the theater department at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; served three terms as Chairman of Alternate ROOTS (Regional Organizations of Theaters South); and is a founding member of the American Festival Project, a national coalition of performing arts organizations. O'Neal is also a member of the Actor's Equity Association and the Dramatist's Guild. Most recently, Mr. O'Neal was a visiting Professor at University of Louisville in the Theater Department.
Mr. O'Neal's most recent project, The ColorLine Project, is a story collecting and performance event about the Civil Rights Movement. Communities across the U.S. have undertaken a story collection process about the Civil Rights Movement and then, aided by Mr. O'Neal and his collegues have discover ways to publicly present the stories to the public to stimulate further dialog about the theme and the importance of personal story.

Mr. Kent is one of the most sought after directors and acting teachers working in contemporary American theater. Aside from his work with John O'Neal and Junebug Productions, he has had productions at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Tennessee Repertory Theater in Nashville, the International Brecht Festival in Toronto, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater among others.
From its formation in 1972 until it finally expired in 1983, Steve was the artistic director of the Provisional Theater. Before then he was a founder and artistic director of the Company theater, and the Watts Towers Theater Workshop. He has been director and collaborator on numerous notable original productions, among them Dreams Against The State, Still Time, Inching Through The Everglades, WA: A Vietnam Primer, Dominus Marlowe, The Emergence and The James Joyce Memorial Liquid Theater. With renown actor, Joseph Chaiken, Steve adapted Samuel Beckett's Texts. He directed Chaiken in the play which produced by Joseph Papp in New York, London, and Paris.
Mr. Kent is most recently the director and collaborator on Mr. O'Neal most recent collaboration, Promise of a Love Song, a musical play by Junebug Productions, Roadside Theater and Pregones Theater.


Holden & Arts Associates is a booking and management service organization for John O'Neal and Junebug Productions, Inc. Founded in 1983 by Michael and Theresa Holden, HAA is a national and international service organization, providing management, booking and producing services for touring dance and theater companies. For the past 21 years HAA has worked with both large and small companies, helping them reach their audiences across the country and the world. HAA is based in Austin and Loyal Valley, Texas.

P.O. BOX 50120
PHONE: 512 477-1859
FAX: 512 477-3908