Rooted in Black oral tradition and centering Black experience, Black is the Light is an ongoing series of classes, workshops, festivals, and networking opportunities intentionally designed to cultivate local talent and create bridges for young Black and POC artists between academic learning and the professional world. 

Black is the Light is open exclusively to students who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), with the goal to engage and inspire BIPOC youth in our community to explore their identity and tell their own story, using artistic mediums including storytelling, poetry, and movement as a source of healing and to harness joy.

Questions? Contact Alex Lee Reed, Associate Director of Arts Engagement, Youth & Learning


  • Sister, Speak!: Solo Show Creation

    Dates: November 13, 2021 – January 15, 2022
    Saturdays & Sundays from 1–4 p.m. PT

    Ages/Grades: Ages 14–22 

    Teaching Artist: Allyson Lee Brown 

    Actor, poet, and playwright Allyson Lee Brown leads this ten-week playwriting intensive designed exclusively for Black and Brown girls and femme-identifying individuals. Join us as we reclaim our freedom of thought, breath, and voice. From inception to production,  create a ten-minute solo show that speaks to your experiences as a young woman today – the resilience, the triumph, the difficulties, and the authenticity. This is your time. This is your truth. This is your story. 

    Class registration includes:

    • 1 free ticket to an in-person performance of SBW 365: The Myth and The Mule by Teaching Artist Allyson Lee Brown (part of Sound Theatre Company’s Making Waves Fall Festival) on either Nov. 4 or 5 at 7 p.m. at 12th Avenue Arts (students are encouraged to attend, but this opportunity is optional)
    • 1 free ticket to an in-person preview performance of Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer at Seattle Rep, Jan. 14-16, 2022 (optional)

    This class has a rolling registration. Join any time!

  • Lift Every Voice: Musical Theater & Songwriting

    Dates: January – February , 2022; dates TBA

    Ages/Grades: Grade 6 – Age 19

    Teaching Artist: TBA

    Do you love to sing and are looking for an outlet? Have you always wanted to explore your voice, but feel a little nervous to get up on stage? Want to explore musicals with characters who look and sound like you? Young vocalists of all experience levels are invited to join our expert Teaching Artists along with some very special guests as we explore our own voice, representation in musical theater, and rewriting the narrative. A strong sense of self, a notebook and pen, and an interest in singing and songwriting are all you need to get started! 

    Registration for Lift Every Voice will open in December 2021.

  • Body Movin': Storytelling through Rhythm & dance

    Dates: March – April, 2022; dates TBA

    Ages/Grades: Grade 6 – Age 19 

    Teaching Artist: TBA 

    Shake off the winter blues and get in the groove with this in-depth exploration of storytelling through rhythm and dance. In this 8-week course, students will learn movement and dance techniques to create an original piece. 

    Registration for Body Movin' will open in early 2022.

Past Workshops


    Harnessing your inner power through physical and mental wellness

    Dates: January 11, 13 & 15, 2021 from 4-5:30 p.m. PT

    Ages/Grades: Ages 11-19

    Teaching Artists: Melany Bell, Alex Lee Reed

    To say that 2020 was a “difficult year” would be an understatement at best. In this workshop, thank the year we’re leaving behind for its lessons, harness your strength, and launch into 2021 with fresh new energy and collective healing. In this three-day workshop, students will explore the many facets of wellness through story, song, movement, meditation, and self-analysis, and heighten the inner power that makes us everyday superheroes.


    DatesSaturday December 5 & Sunday, December, 2020 6 from 2-4 p.m. PT

    Ages/Grades: Grade 6 through age 19

    Teaching Artists: Dedra Woods, Allyson Lee Brown, Alex Lee Reed 

    Utilizing aspects of performance poetry and storytelling, students will work together with teaching artists to create and perform an original work.


    DatesWednesday, November 18 & Thursday, November 19, 2020 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. PT

    Ages/Grades: Grade 6 through age 19

    Teaching Artist: Dedra Woods 

    Students will engage with their own history (present and future) through exercises in writing, performing, engaging an audience, and preserving their stories.


    DatesMonday, November 16 & Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. PT

    Ages/Grades: Grade 6 through age 19

    Teaching Artist: Allyson Lee Brown

    Exploring rhythm, body language, and the power of their own voice, students will create, practice, and perform original pieces of performance poetry.

Meet the Teaching Artists

Allyson Lee Brown

Teaching Artist: Sister, Speak! Solo Show Creation

Melany Bell

Teaching Artist: So You Wanna Be a Superhero

Dedra Woods

Teaching Artist: The Art of Storytelling

Alex Lee Reed

Associate Director of Arts Engagement, Youth & Learning

Zuzu Kandilige and Asmian Obanion-White competing in the 2020 August Wilson Monologue Competition. Photo by Angela Nickerson.