Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival 2024

An OMAI tradition

OMAI’s Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival consists of performances, lectures and discussions by First Wave artist-scholars and invited professional artists engaging with the Madison community, on and off campus. Inaugurated through OMAI’s sponsored Interdisciplinary Arts Residency with Marc Bamuthi Joseph in the spring of 2007, the Line Breaks project culminated in a final performance of student work called “Just Bust!.” Now running for 15 years, “Just Bust!” has evolved into an open mic.

Hip Hop where it belongs

Line Breaks brings the top new aesthetics in contemporary hip hop and interdisciplinary performance art to the UW–Madison campus and the surrounding community. It has evolved into a space for the investigation of contemporary American culture through the lens of hip hop performance. Line Breaks is now one of the largest hip hop-centered performance festivals in the Midwest and continues to be a space for the cultivation and presentation of independent and collaborative work by First Wave artist-scholars. Here, unique responses to common human experiences are explored. The narratives, myths and legends, specific to these diverse communities, are unearthed, distilled and presented in an environment that encourages discussion and continued investigation.

2023 Schedule

7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Can A Song Be A Revolution?
Sri Vamsi Matta 

Can a song be a revolution? Gaddar is a poet, singer, performer, intellectual, a creative mind associated with people’s resistance movements in India and most importantly he is a revolutionary! But to many peoples’ movement he is a revolution, a cultural revolution. In the exercise of telling the story of this revolution, we came to ask a question, can a song be a revolution? This is a love letter or actually a letter of love to that song… to that revolution! An experimental storytelling piece that brings Gaddar’s songs and reimagines them in jazz and hip-hop genres for the American audience. This piece will talk about caste, art, and cultural revolution. It is conceived by Sri Vamsi Matta and performed by Sri Vamsi Matta, First Wave Students, and Musicians from Madison.

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Line Breaks Opening Reception

7:00 PM – 7:25 PM
First Wave 16th Cohort Showcase
The 16th Cohort of First Wave

The First Wave 16th Cohorts show is a culmination of their work created through the First Wave First Year Interest Group curriculum, spearheaded in their FW101 course with Faculty Creative Director, Mark H. The work is in response to the course’s four main themes which are Power, Beauty, Migration, Otherness. The work is an intervention and revisionist work that is in conversation with Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. The 16th Cohort uses their talents to imagine an answer to the question of “How do you restore power to the powerless?”, while reimagining ways of dealing with external and internal conflict to create a sustainable future for their community.


7:25 PM – 7:40 PM
The Mountains that No One Will Name
Maria Freese

The Mountains that No One Will Name is an investigation into the nature of womanhood and the role aging plays into the woman’s understanding of their personal and societal value. The work is meant to engage the audience in conversations surrounding womanhood by using a framework of an intergenerational dialogue. By weaving together poetry, movement, and a series of interviews with women across different backgrounds and stages of life, Maria seeks to encourage these conversations to become more commonplace and less isolated. Creating a reflection that works to name and share the collective knowledge of women across all stages of life not only generationally, but in the present; to bring these conversations to the forefront and not have them be relegated to the mysticism of ancestry or the wonder of youth, but a part of the fabric of the world of the living.


7:40 PM – 7:55 PM
All of My Very Own
GG Christensen

All of My Very Own is a film as well as a memorial. Overdoses (particularly from fentanyl) are the no. 1 cause of accidental death for young adults in the US. All of My Very Own aims to not only bring awareness to the opioid epidemic but raise money for the National Harm Reduction Coalition. Supplementary material on Naloxone/Narcan to be distributed at Linebreaks. Rest in peace Bere (16), Goose (19), and Victor (20). 


7:55 PM – 8:05 PM
Bars is Back
Jason Hill

Bars is Back details the journey of Jason from Philadelphia, to the University of Wisconsin Madison. It addresses issues of loss, grief and struggles of acceptance, and presents us with how to deal with these issues using gratitude, and patience. By using spoken-word poetry, and rap, Jason works to promote messages of peace, positivity, and prosperity. “Bars is Back” will use Jason’s journey to illustrate the way these themes and issues have shaped him and offer the audience a perspective into the way they can find them and utilize them within their own lives.


8:05 PM – 8:25 PM
Planet 88: A Faded Halo, Shadow Boxing, and A Black Girl Somewhere Else.
Kyla Pollard

Planet 88: A Faded Halo, Shadow Boxing, and A Black Girl Somewhere Else. is an exploration of the self, and hyper awareness of mortality. It is a world built across mediums, time, memory and presence. It is both a resurrection and a burial, an ode to Niggas everywhere, in every world. It is at its core an Afrofuturist work, it is a revision, and reimagining of the past and a place “somewhere else” to envision potential futures. Through this multidimensional, interdisciplinary work Kyla not only examines, but creates the reality that she and the work exist in, by pairing presence with absence she contends with the benefit and setbacks of mortal awareness


Talk Back with Artists 
Moderated by Eric Newble Jr. 

7:00 PM – 7:25 PM
First Wave 16th Cohort Showcase
The 16th Cohort of First Wave

The First Wave 16th Cohorts show is a culmination of their work created through the First Wave First Year Interest Group curriculum, spearheaded in their FW101 course with Faculty Creative Director, Mark H. The work is in response to the course’s four main themes which are Power, Beauty, Migration, Otherness. The work is an intervention and revisionist work that is in conversation with Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. The 16th Cohort uses their talents to imagine an answer to the question of “How do you restore power to the powerless?”, while reimagining ways of dealing with external and internal conflict to create a sustainable future for their community.

7:25 PM – 7:40 PM
Talk Back with Artists
Moderated by TBA

7:55 PM – 8:40 PM
Heaven’s Inside

Heaven Inside is an original musical production written and performed by the Madison-based band Tilla. With poetic scenes, bluesy vocals, and a robust musical score, this 50-minute show is carefully curated to speak to the current moment. Tilla’s poignant lyricism encompasses themes of black identity and diaspora, existentialism, interpersonal relationships, and spirituality. Each song creates a distinct world that the audience shares in, and encourages listeners to reflect upon the ubiquity of the human experience. Heaven Inside features performances from the legendary Kongolese percussionist Papa Titos Sompa and Mount Zion’s esteemed choir director Leotha Stanley. Together their musical contributions help make this project as delightfully ethereal as it is grounding.

LineBreaks Thursday Showcase Headliner

Sri Vamsi Matta, (Vamsi, he/him), is a Bangalore-based theatre actor, writer and director. His practice is influenced by his Dalit identity, experience and social location. The histories of his family and community inform the questions, topics and mediums that Vamsi engages with through his work. His most recent traveling solo show performance, ‘Come Eat With Me’ –– an invitation to folks from all caste, faith and race locations–– has received a tremendous response in the national and regional media across India. His play, ‘Star in the Sky’ about the institutional murder of a Dalit PhD scholar in 2016, often seen as a moment of reckoning for Indian academia’s inherent caste biases, won second place at the prestigious Tata Literature Live! Sultan Padamsee Award For Playwriting Sultan Padamsee Playwriting Awards. While in Madison, Vamsi is excited to engage with UW Madison’s own reckoning with historic inequities and contributing to its present campus culture and goals of fostering a greater sense of inclusion and belonging through the arts.

First Wave Student Performances

The 16th Cohort is a collection of artists from New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and California. They are an incredibly diverse group of interdisciplinary artists whose mediums range through Dance, Poetry, Music Composition, Animation, Acting, and Woodwork. The 16th Cohort is represented by students pursuing professional careers across the board in Engineering, Theatre, Music Composition, Business and so many more. They are a resilient group of individuals who are poised to shape the artistic and sociopolitical landscape of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and become the change makers for our country at large in their artistic and professional work. 

Maria Freese is a poet and creator from Northern Minnesota attending the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she studies creative writing and teaching ESL. She is part of the 15th cohort of First Wave. In Line Breaks 2023, she performed an original chore-poem in We Remember: An Anthological Performance Exploring Time and Memory and designed costumes for the original piece, ALTERCATION I by Jackson Neal. Recently, Maria has spent time in Kathmandu, Nepal working with local artisans and writers. Her work strives to create a sense of belonging and shared humanity. 

GG Christensen is a multimedia visual artist from Minneapolis, MN, Fayetteville, GA, and the 13th cohort of First Wave. GG’s art has been shown at MMoCA, the Overture, Memorial Union and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. GG also owns a small business selling commercial work. Through illustration, sculpture, and video, GG has been able to tell stories picked up from homes throughout the country.

Jason Hill is a multi-talented performer from South Philadelphia, he is a Junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the 14th Cohort of First Wave. Jason uses poetry and music to detail his life experience and express his personal feelings, as well as his thoughts and opinions on issues surrounding racial inequality, violence, loss, peace, and creating a future rooted in prosperity. 

Kyla Pollard is a Poet, Songwriter, Filmmaker, and Visual artist hailing from Chicago’s South Side. She is a First Wave Scholar, and 5th-year senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Communication Arts: Radio, Television, & Film. Kyla was the winner of the 2022 University of Wisconsin Arts Business Competition, and her writing has been published four times through 826 Chicago. She is a two time member of the First Wave Touring Ensemble and has performed and worked as a teaching artist across the United States, including a recent workshop at the 2023 Brave New Voices competition. Kyla’s work explores grief and mortality and what it means to love with an awareness of one’s own dying, it attempts to salvage pieces of herself that were lost in grief. Her work not only questions the world we live in, but forces us to question ourselves. As a queer, masculine presenting artist, Kyla interrogates the widespread fear of Black masculinity, and what it means to live and love in a body that everyone is afraid of. Through her multidisciplinary artistry, Kyla works to ask the questions of viewers that she herself is working to answer.

LineBreaks Saturday Showcase Headliner

Taylor C. Scott currently serves as the 2023-2024 Poet Laureate for East Baton Rouge Parish. She is also an Assistant Professor of English at Southern University where she teaches African American Literature.  In 2022, she graduated from Louisiana State University with her doctorate in English (specialty: Culture & Writing). 

Tilla formed after Taylor Scott (lead vocal) and Nathan France (producer, sax player) organized a writing retreat in New Orleans in early 2022. While the band shapeshifts for each project and performance, its core members include Eric Newble (lead vocal), Morgan Ryser (pianist), Evan Ryser (vocalist), Andy Jones (bass), Quinn Jacobson (guitar), and Jalen McCullough (drums). 

Their songs layer thoughtful lyricism with timeless analog sensibilities and contemporary electronic innovations. Their work blends and bends genres and conventions by stretching across Blues, Soul, R&B, Dance, Jazz, and Gospel. Last summer, Tilla released their debut EP, ‘Term of Endearment’ (2023), which is filled to the brim with spirit, character, care, happy accidents, and so much more. The band’s distinct multi-vocal harmonies engage audiences in an intimate encounter where the song is the room.

Past Line Break Festivals

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Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2023

Page & Stage: An Evening with Eve L. Ewing and Paul Tran

A Room of One’s Own (2717 Atwood Avenue)

UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives and A Room of One’s Own are thrilled to welcome Eve L. Ewing to Madison in conversation with poet and UW–Madison Assistant Professor of English and Asian American Studies Paul Tran. 

Pre-Show Reception

Sunset Lounge, Memorial Union (800 Langdon Street)

Join the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and the Division of the Arts in celebrating the opening of the 2023 Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival! Doors for Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival Showcase open at 5:30 p.m. Register here for the Friday evening Showcase.

Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival Showcase
Shannon Hall, Wisconsin Union Theater, Memorial Union (800 Langdon Street)

Join the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and the Division of the Arts for the 2023 Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival! This Friday night Showcase features performances by First Wave artist-scholars in the 15th Cohort; Diya Abbas (14th Cohort) and Azura Tyabji (13th Cohort); Jackson Neal (12th Cohort); and featured performances by guests of Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Eve L. Ewing including Jamila Woods and Nate Marshall. The Showcase will conclude with a talkback with the featured performers and Eve L. Ewing, moderated by Amanda Torres.

This event is all ages, free and open to the public. Masks are encouraged.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival Showcase  

Shannon Hall, Wisconsin Union Theater  (800 Langdon Street)

Join the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and the Division of the Arts for the 2023 Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival! This Saturday night Showcase features performances by First Wave artist-scholars in the 15th Cohort; First Wave alumna, Shasparay Irvin; the First Wave Touring Ensemble; and headlining performance by Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Eve L. Ewing. The Showcase will conclude with a talkback with select performers and OMAI Artistic Director Mark H. 

Register here! This event is all ages, free and open to the public. Masks are encouraged.

Post-Show Reception
Sunset Lounge, Memorial Union (800 Langdon Street)

Join the Division of the Arts and the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) to close out the 2023 Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival! 

Learn more and register here for the Saturday evening Showcase.


First Wave 15th Cohort Ensemble
We Remember: An Anthological Performance Exploring Time and Memory

In this devised performance, the 15th Cohort of First Wave explores the transportation of time and memory using an anthology format. They will present collaborations of song, dance, poetry, visual illustration, and movement as they seek to understand deeper how memories can alter existence, how the way we navigate through time can change our experience, and what it means to remember something as a collective. Audiences are called to reflect on our personal history and the history of our community as we ask ourselves…who is in charge of remembering? Who is allowed to forget? And who is doing the labor? Travel down memory lane with the 15th Cohort of First Wave. Directed by Denzel Taylor. 


First Wave Touring Ensemble
Keepin’ It Right
Selections from First Wave Touring Ensemble’s full-length multimedia work in progress, tentatively titled Keepin’ It Right. Directed by Mark H.


Azura Tyabji & Diya Abbas
The Dream of a Common Woman

Borrowed from the titles of two 1978 lesbian poetry collections, The Common Woman by Judy Grahn and The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich,The Dream of a Common Woman written by Azura Tyabji and Diya Abbas follows two women in a long-distance courtship who, when they fall asleep over the phone, wake up in a shared dream. Through honest testimony and heightened language they couldn’t share in real life, they come closer to vulnerability and understanding through the stories of women in their families, attempting to end their lineages of loneliness. 


Jackson Neal

ALTARCATION I is an encounter between dancer, writer, and choreographer Jackson Neal, and his own mother, Shaelyn Neal. For twelve minutes, Jackson and Shaelyn will run on opposite facing treadmills while engaging in a dialogue about love, care, effort, and memory. Jackson will sprint at the treadmill’s top speed for two consecutive minutes at the conclusion of the piece. 

The primary question of ALTARCATION I is how much are you willing to work for love? Using physical and emotional effort, Shaelyn and Jackson will create an exercise of the heart, one which demands attention, commitment, and effort in order to be fulfilled. 

In preparation for this piece, the Neals have participated in a series of in-depth interviews, which broaden their understanding of each other, and the nature of the roles of mother and son. The Neals have also participated in a serious training regimen to physically prepare their bodies for the task. 

Cast: Jackson Neal, son of Shaelyn Neal; Shaelyn Neal, mother of Jackson Neal


Video Production: Kyla Pollard
Kyla Pollard is an artist and aspiring filmmaker from the South Side of Chicago whose art focuses on urban inequalities and the existence and necessity of Black Joy.
Sound Design: Dawry Ruiz
Dawry Ruiz is an interdisciplinary artist, First Wave Scholar, and is the recipient of a 2022 Truman Scholarship.


Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Eve L. Ewing and Guest Artists
Performances by Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Eve L. Ewing and guest artists will be featured in both Friday and Saturday night’s showcases, including Jamila Woods, accompanied by Justin Canavan, and Nate Marshall. The Friday Showcase will conclude with a talkback with the featured performers and Eve L. Ewing, moderated by Amanda Torres (AT). The Saturday Showcase will feature an interdisciplinary performance by Eve L. Ewing of selections from 1919.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the most intense of the riots that comprised the “Red Summer” of violence across the nation’s cities, has shaped the last century but is unfamiliar or altogether unknown to many people today. In 1919, her second collection of poems, Eve L. Ewing explores the story of this event—which lasted eight days and resulted in thirty-eight deaths and almost five hundred injuries— through poems recounting the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city. Ewing uses speculative and Afrofuturist lenses to recast history, illuminating the thin line between the past and the present.

The Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives within the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Educational Achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides culturally relevant and transformative arts programming to promote positive social dialogue and to give cultural art forms an academic forum. 

The Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival seeks to bring together communities on and off campus, locally and nationally, to embrace the values and guiding principles of OMAI/First Wave. This year’s festival culminates an academic year-long partnership between OMAI and the Division of the Arts’ Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program, presenting a series of short-term residencies with interdisciplinary artists who represent the three pillars of academics, arts and activism. The residency series has brought Jay Adana and Zeniba Now, Jasmine Mans, Porsha Olayiwola, and headlining performer Eve L. Ewing to UW–Madison. This gathering would not be possible without the generous support of our presenting partners: Division of the Arts; Wisconsin Union Theater; A Room of One’s Own Bookstore; Professor Mark H. of the Department of Theater and Drama; Professors Nate Marshall, Paul Tran, and Amy Quan Barry of the Department of Creative Writing.


Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2022

UW-Madison Arts Crawl in partnership with the Division of the Arts

Arts Crawl highlights a collection of arts events held over several days in the arts departments and co-curricular arts units at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Arts Crawl is an opportunity to have creative arts experiences, which may take the form of demonstrations and workshops, as well as the chance to visit arts classes, lectures, talks, performances, exhibitions, and rehearsals. The Arts Crawl will run from Thursday, March 31 – Saturday, April 2, culminating in performances at the Line Breaks Festival.

Details available at

Line Breaks Opening Reception in the Wisconsin Studio, Overture Center

In partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Association, the Line Breaks Opening Reception will feature refreshments, light catering, bar, and sounds by DJ Pain 1! Throughout the space, we will install an exhibition of First Wave visual and design artists to present and discuss their work with guests.

The programme for the reception will take place 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., where we will host WAA’s Wisconsin Idea Spotlight Panel, featuring key First Wave alumni Danez Smith and Erika Dickerson-Despenza; Professor Chris Walker, founding Faculty Artistic Director of OMAI and Director of the Division of the Arts; and Dr. LaVar Charleston, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer at UW-Madison.

Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival Showcase in the Playhouse Theater, Overture Center

This evening showcase will include performances by First Wave 14th Cohort Ensemble, FW 12th Cohort member Jackson Neal’s Glitch, First Wave Touring Ensemble, and conclude with a debut staging of summer, somewhere by First Wave alum Danez Smith, featuring a small ensemble of First Wave scholars directed by Professor Chris Walker.


Badger Meet Up: Line Breaks Edition

In partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW alumni from Classes 2007 – 2017 with an interest in multicultural arts are invited for a brunch mixer with refreshments, music and performances honoring the 15th Anniversary of UW-Madison’s Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives.

Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival Showcase in the Playhouse Theater, Overture Center

This evening showcase will include performances by First Wave 14th Cohort Ensemble, 12th Cohort member Dawry Ruiz’s Speakeasy, and the JVN Project’s Fashion Show. Featuring special performances by musical trio Klassik, B~Free, and Quinten Farr.


First Wave 14th Cohort Ensemble

The first-year of the First Wave curriculum includes a course instructed by Professor Chris Walker where the newest cohort in the First Wave community engage in Walker’s First Wave Process. Dance 259: Collaborative Arts Performance Lab is a unique course designed to further engage students in creative problem solving and devising performance processes.  Students work together under facilitation to create work and produce performances of hip hop theater, experimental theater and other collaborative performance art works for public viewing.  The course content is repeatable and the work is developed in stages in each workshop.   Students are introduced to the three pillars of the First Wave Program – Arts, Activism and Academics and how they interact with and within multiple contemporary art processes.  They work together in a creative workshop space to practice, collaborate and engage in creative research processes  using the elements of Hip Hop and the creative problem solving tools that shape them as points of engagement and departure.  The FW 14th Cohort will present their collaborative work both evenings of the Line Breaks Festival and participate in a talk back with the audience.


First Wave Touring Ensemble

The First Wave Touring Ensemble, consisting of Jackson Neal, Sarah Abbas, Azura Mizan Tyabji , and Zachary Lesmeister, fuses music, poetry, and movement to put forth new work exemplary of the First Wave collaborative experience.


Selected Line Breaks Proposals by First Wave Scholars, Creative Direction by Karl Iglesias

  1. Glitch by Jackson Neal (FW 12th Cohort), is a multimedia performing arts piece that examines the enormous pleasure of the internet and its sinister underbelly, inviting audiences to pause and consider how their own choices, when closely examined, might not be their own.
  2. Speakeasy by Dawry Ruiz (FW 12th Cohort) combines the aspects of a concert and Hip-Hop theatre to confront and explore survivors’ guilt and how our lead musician can escape the consequences that his childhood friends could not.
  3. True to the Root, produced by Corina Robinson (FW 12th cohort) for the JVN Project is a sustainable hip hop fashion show. We believe fashion is an important way to showcase hip hop; the clothes we wear reflect the culture we walk in on the daily. Hip hop is a culture that builds off itself and the people in it, we feel that emphasizing sustainable fashion (upcycling, rewearing, etc.) reflects this as well. True to the Root will be a multimedia fashion show highlighting pieces that embody the 5 elements of hip hop (breaking, DJing, MCing, graffiti, and knowledge). Other media will include a DJ, spoken word poetry, and more.


summer, somewhere

This is a section from a long poem taking place in an imagined afterlife for black men shot by the police, where, as the narrator says, “dead is the safest i’ve ever been.” Danez Smith is a slam-poetry champion as well as a recipient of several more traditional literary awards; the poetry in “Don’t Call Us Dead” reflects the strengths of each of those worlds. 

– Matthew Zapruder, New York Times, June 9, 2017

In a semester-long residency with OMAI this Spring 2022, Danez Smith and Professor Chris Walker workshopped a staging of Smith’s choreopoem summer, somewhere from the book don’t call us dead for a cast of all Black masculine presenting bodies. The residency invited current First Wave scholars to create a new work in partnership with Smith and professional artists from Walker’s company, a core educational experience of the Line Breaks Festival.


Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2021

The First Wave 13th cohort presents: Only Human

Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2019

First Wave Flash Talks

  • Emeka: Art Creates Art Creates, Tiffany Ike
  • Research & Documentary Film: A Case for Muhammad Ali’s Influence on Hip Hop, Mackenzie Berry
  • Research in Practice: A Case for Addressing Mass Incarceration through the Arts, Mackenzie Berry
  • In the Peak of Summer, Francisco Velazquez
  • Providing an Accessible Art Education, Masha Vodyanyk
  • Black Arts Matter, Shasparay Lighteard

Visual Arts Showcase featuring Nikolai Hagen, Joi Brenson, Isha Camara, Auzzie Dodson,

Janaé Hu, Masha Vodyanyk, and Adjua Nsoroma

First Wave Poetry Showcase featuring Natasha Oladokun, Isha Camara, and Mackenzie Berry

UpRise Poetry Collective

Thiahera Nurse Writing Workshop

James D. Gavins Movement Workshop

Feast of Flowers, Jamie Dawson

DAL: Stories of Black Motherhood, Tiffany Ike

Citizen X, Ricardo Cortez de la Cruz II

Cicada, James D. Gavins

Fifth Year: A Collaboration, Nia Scott

The Help, Jasmine Kiah

Return Home to Us, Solomon Roller

Unlearning God, Tiffany Ike

Love U(s) First, Dequadray White

First Wave Music Showcase

Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2018

When I was a kid, Kenneth Dizon

Diary of  a Shapeshifter, Mariam Coker

First Wave Music Showcase, Obasi Davis, Hiwot Adilow, Dequadray White, Tehan Ketema, Chetta Hill, First Wave cypher

Louisville Lip: MC Muhammad Ali, Mackenzie Berry

Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2017

Tearing Down the Walls, First Wave Touring Ensemble (2017)

First Wave Poetry Sharing  (2017)

First Wave 10th Cohort

Dancing Towards Change, Featured Local Dance Artists

Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble

 Love Has No Season, Featured Artist, Rain Wilson

Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble Garrett Pauli


Kaleidoscopes/Collide of Scopes Poster


Kaleidoscopes/Collide of Scopes

Goddess At Your Feet Poster


Goddess At Your Feet

The Sun Doesn't Always Come Out Tomorrow Poster


The Sun Doesn’t Always Come Out Tomorrow

Where Guilt Exists Poster


Where Guilt Exists

Ball and Chain Poster


Ball and Chain

Romeo and Juliet Poster


Romeo and Juliet

Garrett Pauli Headshot



Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2016

Line Breaks - Guest Performers (2005 - 2015)

Jessica Care-Moore (2005): Internationally renowned poet, publisher, activist, rock star, playwright, actress, educator, thespian, filmmaker, performance artist, producer, five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner, and CEO of Moore Black Press.

Kalamu ya Salaam (2005): Poet, author, filmmaker, and teacher.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010): Spoken-word poet, dancer, and playwright who frequently directs stand alone hip-hop theater plays.

Jeff Chang (2007): Author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and Who We Be: The Colonization of America, co-founder of Culturestr/ke magazine and Coloredlines daily news site, and Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

Dr. Rennie Harris (2007, 2008, 2014): Artistic Director, Choreographer and Director.

Sambada (2007): Brazilian band.

Alix Olson (2007): American poet and Spoken Word artist.

Kamilah Forbes (2007, 2009): Assistant Director and Artistic Director.

Danny Hoch (2007): American writer, director, and performance artist.

Dennis Kim (2007, 2008): Hip-Hop and Spoken Word artist from Chicago, and a co-founder of I Was Born With Two Tongues, an Asian American spoken word quartet, and Typical Cats, a Chicago-based hip hop collective. He is a teaching artist at Youth Speaks, Inc.

Mayda Del Valle (2007): Poet, performer, teaching artist.

Lauren Whitehead (2007): Spoken Word artist.

Rafael Casal (2007, 2009, 2011): American writer, performance poet, recording artist, educator, playwright and founding member of The Getback.

Dahlak Brathwaite (2007): musician, actor, poet, and educator

Omar Sosa (2007): composer, bandleader, and jazz pianist.

Roger Bonair-Agard (2007): Poet and Performance artist.

Willie Perdomo (2007): Poet, children’s book author, Artist-in-Residence, Workspace, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is co-founder/publisher of Cypher Books.
Gambian Griot Alhaji Papa Susso (2007): Griot or jeli, master kora player, and director of the Koriya Musa Center for Research in Oral Tradition.

Staceyann Chin (2008): Spoken-word poet, performing artist and LGBT rights political activist.

Rokafella & Kwikstep (2008): Hip-Hop dancers, Artistic directors of Full Circle Productions, a Hip-Hop dance theater company.

Josh Healey (2008): Award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist.

Kevin Coval (2008): Poet, playwright, educator, organizer, Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors.

Patricia Smith (2008): Poet, spoken-word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist.

Wale (2009): American rapper.

Colin Munroe (2009): Canadian singer-songwriter.

First Wave Music Ensemble (2009): Student performers.

Amir Sulaiman (2009): Poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow.

K Swift (2009): American DJ, MC, radio personality and entreprenuer.

Lemon Andersen (2009): American poet, spoken word artist and actor.

Beau Sia (2009): American Slam poet.

Christopher Walker (2009): UW-Madison assistant professor of Dance and First Wave Hip-Hop Theater Ensemble artistic director.

Janelle Monae (2010): Grammy nominated American singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer signed to Bad Boy Records, Wondaland Art Society, and Atlantic Records.

Colman Domingo (2010): Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominated and OBIE, Lucille Lortel, GLAAD Award winning film, stage, and television actor, playwright, and director.

Stew & Heidi (2010): A four-time Tony nominee, Stew leads, along with his collaborator Heidi Rodewald, two critically acclaimed bands: The Negro Problem and Stew. Works: Post Minstrel Syndrome (TNP 1997), Joys and Concerns (TNP 1999), Guest Host (S 2000), The Naked Dutch Painter (S 2002), Welcome Black (TNP 2002), Something Deeper Than These Changes (S 2003) and the cast album of Passing Strange (2008).

Queen GodIs (2012): International Poet, MC, Artistic Director and Performance Art Therapist whose work serves a host of communities seeking transformation through art.

Hapasan (2012): multiracial Japanese American capoeirista and house dancer based in the Bay Area.

Chanel Matsunami Govreau (2012): Performance storyteller, printmaker and costume designer.

Paul Oakley Stovall (2012): Playwright.

Brad Simmons (2012): Musical director.

GIRLilla Tactics (2013): Devan Rode, Macca, Peipei Yuan – Bgirl workshops

Dawn Crandel (2013): Performing Xenophobadelica. Dawn is a dancer, choreographer, theatre artist, poet, grassroots cultural activist and educator.

Michael Sakamoto (2014): Interdisciplinary artist active in dance, theatre, performance, photography, and media.

Jamila Woods (2015): Poet and vocalist.

Line Breaks - First Wave Performers (2008 - 2015)

First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble (2008): Performing The Wheatley Prompt, Chisel me Man, On Loving and Learning, Puppets, I am Woman, Hear us Roar, Casualties – Casualties, The Sound Of, Yusef, Immigrante, Goodbye.

Alida Cardos-Whaley (2008): Performing Underground Rail Hop Revolution.

First Wave 2nd Cohort Ensemble (2009): Performing Boomboxed.

Ben Young (2009): Performing The Void.

Karl Iglesias (2009): Performing If a Tree Falls.

Gabriel De Los Reyes (2009): Performing Formal Introduction.

First Wave 3rd Cohort Ensemble (2010): Performing The Issue.

Danez Smith (2010): Performing The Problem With Sundays.

Camea Osborn (2010): Performing Langely Street.

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado (2010): Performing El Viejo Detras Del Escritorio or The Old Man Behind the Desk.

2nd Cohort Works (2010): Asia Elliot, Gabriel De Los Reyes & Angela Thompson – Performing Built into the Walls // Rebekah Blocker, Leslie Thomas, Camea Osborn, Dianna Harris & Asia Elliot – Performing Get a Room // Michael Sherer, Ben Young, Krystal Gartley, Rebekah Blocker, Andrew Thomas, & James Gavins – Performing Home is Where

First Wave 4th Cohort Ensemble (2011): Performing Control Alt Delete.

First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble Show (2011): Performing Dog Years: A Wisconsin Experience

Danez Smith (2011): Performing For Those Who Pray in Closets.

Jasmine Mans (2011): Performing Bloody Mary

Asia Elliot (2011): Performing Working Class

Gayle Smaller (2011): Performing In Other News

William Giles (2011): Performing Still Born

Kelsey Van Ert (2011): Performing Birdies

Cydney Edwards (2011): Performing Get a Room

First Wave Music Ensemble (2011): Boomboxed – The Remix.

First Wave 5th Cohort Ensemble (2012): Performing Common Denominator

Shameaca Moore & Myriha Burton (2012): Performing Duo Show – Failing with an A

Ashley Street (2012): Performing The Silent Streets are Burning

Nakila Robinson (2012): Performing Little Big Woman

First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Shock

Dominic Nicholas & Jill Fukumoto (2012): Performing Duo Show – Forget It

First Wave 6th Cohort Ensemble (2013): Performing Welcome Mat at Capacity.

Dakota Alcantara-Camacho (2013): Performing Buried Beneath Bombs and Lattes

Asia Elliot (2013): Performing Working Class

Nakila Robinson (2013): Performing Little Big Woman

Natalie Cook (2013): Performing Some May Think Light isn’t Heavy

Gethsemane Herron-Coward (2013): Performing Witness

First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Kingdom Bequeath

Dominique Ricks (2013): Performing Cross-Walk

Richard Jones Jr. & Rebekah Blocker (2013) Performing duo show PPK: Parenting Preachers’ Kids

Erika Dickerson (2013): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies

Marlon Eric Lima (2013): Performing Don’t Just Stand There

Niko Tumamak (2013): Performing The S**t We Go Through

First Wave 7th Cohort Ensemble (2014): Performing Fire Under the Skin

Erika Dickerson (2014): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies

Elton Ferdinand III (2014): Performing Flounder

The Bellhops (2014): Performing Honey in my Tea

T Banks (2014): Ensemble Performing Loud and Unchained

Nakila Robinson & Ashley Street (2014): Performing Duo Show – The Miseducation of Mil Chet

First Wave 8th Cohort (2015): Performing Staying Hungry.

Hiwot Adilow (2015): mine.

Melana Bass (2015): What does In/Justice Look Like

Jill Fukomoto (2015): Liminal Creatures.

LaLa Bolander (2015): SPILL.

Zhalarina Sanders (2015): Rose Gold.

Natalie Cook (2015): Manikin.

Garrett Pauli (2015): Skeletons of Silence.

Ajanae Dawkins (2015): Atlantic.

John Paul Alejandro (2015): In the Belly of the Iron Beast.

T Banks (2015): Loud and Unchained – Spiritual.

Kelsey Pyro (2015): Break the Cycle.

Joseph Verge (2015): Labels.

FXFW: First by First Wave (2015): Featuring CRASHprez, Lord of the Fly, Broadway, Amy Alida, Sean Avery , with Special Performance of Joseph Verge’s “Labels”

Rich Robbins (2015): Opening for Jamilia Woods