Thank You for Showing up for Sprint! by Nana Duffuor

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Dear Sprint Fam--

We DID THAT!

This time last year, Indigo Mateo and I gathered in the corner booth at our favorite restaurant, and together, we dreamed out loud about what it could look like to put together a performance of Sprint that drew from film, theater, music, and dance, and spoke directly to our community about a deeply personal story of healing and resistance.

Fast forward one year and I am in sheer awe of what we were able to create with your support. With you, an incredible community of artists, support and guidance from the Queer Cultural Center, and the platform of the National Queer Arts Festival, we’ve been able to:

  • Create four short films that tell a story spanning from childhood to adulthood

  • Collaborate with more than 20 artists (all of whom identify as people of color and/or members of LGBTQ community)

  • SELL OUT TWO BACK-TO-BACK SHOWS at the Flight Deck Theater

  • Pen more than 100 letters to the Governor of North Carolina demanding freedom for Crystal Mangum

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of this journey. There were those of you in the audience on 6/17 that read the first draft of Sprint over a year ago. There were those of you that donated--some of you, many times over--to help make this dream a reality. There were those of you that offered words of encouragement in moments of confusion or deep discouragement.  There were those of you that cooked meals for our cast and crew, that stayed up late into the night working on parts of this project, or that shared with a friend or a family member about the project. For the many ways that you, our community, made this project possible, thank you.

What's most exciting is, we're just getting started! 

Right after the show ended, the first thing many of you asked was when we’re having another show, and what you can do to ensure it reaches more audiences. Thank you so much for asking :-) Here are three ways you can help keep this Sprint Movement moving today:

  1. Make a donation to Sprint  before August 15 and it will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,000! Visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/queerculturalcenter and designate your gift to SPRINT today. 
     

  2. Demand Freedom for Crystal Mangum

    The morning of the performance, I received a call from Crystal notifying me that, for the first time in years, she’ll be able to appeal her case in court this coming August. We want the Governor of North Carolina to know that there is a growing community of us who are in solidarity with Crystal, who will speak out against her wrongful imprisonment and the systemic criminalization and imprisonment of survivors of sexual violence. We can help influence the outcome of her case by reaching out to the state’s Governor, Roy Cooper, and making our voices heard. Here’s how:

    Online: https://governor.nc.gov/contact/contact-governor-cooper

    Mail: attn: Governor Roy Cooper, Governor's Office of North Carolina, 116 W Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

    Phone: (919) 814-2000

  3. Write a review of Sprint

    We would love to hear what you thought of he show! Your reviews also help us to secure funding for future shows. Visit www.sprintmovement.com to write a review today.

In the coming months, the goal is to continue to share this work with audiences here in the Bay Area, then across California, then across the country! And in the meantime, please be on the lookout for an invitation to our Cast Party/Fundraising Event here in Oakland and other opportunities to learn more about the work and how it came together. 
 

With much love and gratitude,

Nana

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Sprint: Call for Stage Actors by Nana Duffuor

Announcing auditions for “Sprint.” (Stage Production, Non-AEA)

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE:

Friday, May 18th, 6:30 - 9:00pm: Oakland Auditions

Sunday, May 20th, 1:00 - 4:00pm: Oakland Auditions

May 24, 6:00 - 9:00pm: First Company Reading

May 29 - June 15: Rehearsals

June 16, 6:30-9:30pm: Dress Rehearsal at Flight Deck Theater

June 17, 2:00pm & 7:00pm: Performances at Flight Deck Theater

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO REQUEST AN AUDITION TIME, please email sprintmovement@gmail.com  

AVAILABLE ROLES:

- Cassie, 20’s-30’s, All ethnicities. Nana’s mature and nurturing romantic partner, 20’s-30’s, masculine-of-center queer person of color. Must have some dancing ability.

-Jamie, 20’s, White male. The faculty liaison for the Duke College Student Diversity Retreat. An out white gay male dedicated to creating safe spaces for marginalized youth on college campuses.

-Judy, 30’s-40’s, Black female. A woman with a big smile and personality, and an outspoken leader in the recovery community.

-Mr. Carlin, 40’s-50’s, White male. A seasoned junior high school geometry teacher with a love for reggae and gin rummy, an adult Nana can trust and confide in.

-Mr. Hahn, 30’s, White male. A high-minded, haughty junior high school social studies teacher and Nana’s nemesis.

-Racquel, 18-20, Black female. A confident yet conflicted college student, involved in Black Greek life, who attends the Duke College Student Diversity Retreat.

-Sharon, 30’s-40’s, White female. Born and raised in North Carolina, Duke University’s feisty sexual assault support counselor.

-Tatiana, 30’s, All ethnicities, female. Nana’s self-assured, out, queer co-worker who introduces Nana to queer community in Oakland.

-Venessa, 16-17, Latina female. Outspoken, incredibly blunt,  life-of-the-party, and a close friend of Nana and Cici’s in high school. Must have some dancing ability.

- OTHER VARIOUS ENSEMBLE ROLES FOR FOLKS OF ALL GENDER, AGE, & ETHNICITY (OPEN TO ALL EXPERIENCE LEVELS)

ABOUT SPRINT:

Presented by Nana Duffuor and Indigo Mateo, Sprint is a multidisciplinary stage performance blending film, theater, poetry, music, and dance to tell the coming of age story of Nana D., a queer black child of Ghanaian immigrants, discovering herself (and her dignity) in White America.

In the era of #BlackGirlMagic, Sprint begs the critical question: “What happens when a magical black girl breaks?”

Based off an original screenplay and collection of written works by Nana Duffuor, Sprint explores the writer’s experiences of anti-blackness and self-denial, sexual violence and self-destruction, healing and resistance. From Nana’s first act of resistance (urinating on the classroom floor of her detested sixth-grade teacher) to the powerful letter she sends to her rapists via Linkedin ten years after the event, Sprint draws upon Nana’s most hilarious and at times horrifying life lessons to inspire community healing.  

Sprint will debut as part of the National Queer Arts Festival at the Flight Deck on June 17, 2018.

To learn more, visit www.sprintmovement.com.



 

Sprint Tickets Go On Sale May 1st (And Other Exciting Announcements)! by Nana Duffuor

Dear Sprint Family--

It’s been too long! I hope this message finds y'all cared for and enjoying these early Spring months. I also hope that by now you know we have a date set for our debut performance of Sprint, and that you’ll be able to join us on June 17 at Oakland’s Flight Deck Theater for either our 2pm or 7pm showing. Please find below some exciting updates on our project, including ticket sales:

Tickets for Spring go on sale on Eventbrite May 1st at 9:00am PST :

Sliding scale tickets ($12-20) will be available on Eventbrite for both the matinee and evening showing of Sprint. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Questions? Please contact sprintmovement@gmail.com. 

With four short film components, original music by Indigo Mateo, original poetry by yours truly, a full cast with theater and dance integrated into the performance, we are creating a very ambitious labor of love made possible by each of you. We can't wait to share it with you!

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Sprint Receives Matching Grant Award from East Bay Fund for Artists!

I am especially proud to announce that Sprint was recently awarded a $2,000 matching grant from the East Bay Community Foundation's East Bay Fund for Artists. Check out the announcement here!

To receive the matching funds, we must raise $2,000 from community, resulting in $4,000 that we can use towards our stage production costs including set design and costuming, and compensating all the artists working on the stage performance. You can make a tax-deductible donation today and in the weeks leading up to the performance through our fiscal sponsor, Queer Cultural Center, by designating your gift to Sprint here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/queerculturalcenter

At the end of 2017, your matching gifts allowed us to create four (that's right...FOUR) incredible short films, all directed by women of color, to be incorporated into our performance and shared widely with audiences outside the Bay Area. Now, with support from EBFA and you, we can continue to bring on incredible talent to this project and share it with diverse audiences and communities. On behalf of everyone who has touched the work thus far, we hank you for giving this project wings! 

Make a matching gift to Sprint today!

Sprint Seeks Stage Director & Stage Manager

We are looking for an experienced director and stage manager to join our production team. We are especially excited for folks with theater experience who identify as members of LGBTQ and POC community to fill these roles. We are looking to fill these roles by May 11th. Please spread the word to those you know in theater community. Interested parties should contact sprintmovement@gmail.com. 

I look forward to continuing to share updates with you as our performance nears. You'll be sure to hear from me on May 1st when the tickets go up. In the meantime, do take care and be well.

With much love and gratitude,
Nana

This is #WhyWeSprint by Nana Duffuor

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Dear Sprint Fam--

Happy Valentine’s Day! Since today is a day when many of us choose to celebrate the love in our lives, it felt like the right time to reach out and share with you more about Sprint and the deep love that lies at center of this work.

A year ago, right around this time I visited Ghana to bury my last living grandparent, my grandmother Afua Fobi Duffuor. Each night, after a day full of funeral activities, I’d lie awake writing as if I was possessed. Eventually, those writings took the form of Sprint. During that time, I penned two very important letters:

One was to the three men that raped me when I was 17, photographed that rape, and shared photos of that rape with my peers while we were students at Duke University. Another, was to a woman named Crystal Mangum who, earlier that same year, had accused three wealthy, white Duke lacrosse players of rape at an off-campus party and found herself at the center of a national media frenzy--ostracized, villainized, and--it seemed to me at least--silenced. For years, her very public case, its eventual dismissal, and her mistreatment throughout all of it stuck with me. I watched her labeled as a “false rape accuser” and, at the time, it provoked a deep fear in me to say anything about what I’d experienced. From what I saw, I was convinced me no one would believe me, and that I would be the one put on trial for what I’d endured. Almost a decade later, in the throws of my writing Sprint, I penned a poem called “Crystal,” inspired by her resilience, and I wanted her to read it.

I learned that if I wanted to Crystal to read it, I would have to send it to the Southern Correctional Institute in Troy, NC where she was serving a 14-18 year prison sentence for second-degree murder.

This is #WhyWeSprint

Almost five years after gaining notoriety in the “Duke Lacrosse Scandal,” Crystal was tried and incarcerated after stabbing her then-boyfriend in self-defense during a physical altercation in which he’d threatened to kill her. Sadly, he died while under the care of Duke Hospital. Despite having a strong case for self defense, Crystal’s reputation as a deranged and duplicitous “false rape accuser,” resulted in inadequate legal defense and a murder conviction that has kept her imprisoned and apart from her three beautiful  children for six years.

Since working on Sprint, I have had the deep honor of getting to know Crystal--first sharing my poem, then more of my work and more of my story with her, and her sharing more of who she is, her dreams, her heartbreaks with me in return. Not only does Crystal’s story powerfully intersect with my own, but it speaks volumes to a larger issue about the criminalization of women of color survivors of sexual and physical violence with limited access to social capital--Black and Brown women, trans women, immigrant women, poor women, sex workers--the list goes on.

This is #WhyWeSprint

Thinking of so many women in a similar situation as Crystal languishing behind bars reminds me of an Alice Walker quote I’ve seen circulating on social media recently:

“We are a people. A people do not throw their geniuses away. And if they are thrown away, it is our duty as artists and as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children, and, if necessary, bone by bone.”

-Alice Walker

Too many of our leaders-- those who we need to hear from about how we disrupt deeply entrenched cycles of abuse, those among us with the perspective and resilient spirits to be our greatest teachers--are behind bars. As we witness the rise of the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns--we are reminded that rape culture, patriarchy, and systemic violence thrive on shame and silence. We are also reminded that the media representations of these campaigns tell a limited story that erases a long legacy of silence breakers who have been met with criminalization rather than celebration. And, we know that the criminalization system does not and has never served our survivors. Love, truth, and connection serve our survivors

That is why today, on Valentine’s Day, I want to share with you the love story that has been the fuel to my fire for this project, and to invite you to share in to love with me. Let us form a loving and powerful circle of support around Crystal.

In the coming weeks, you’ll hear from me about ways that we can show up for Crystal and similarly situated criminalized survivors. Here are four ways we’ve come up with (and we’re so open to hearing more):

  1. Send Crystal a Letter.  I’ll host a letter-writing event the evening of  Friday, March 2, 2018 for Crystal where we can break bread and pen some love letters. Please save the date. Logistics to follow! If you can’t make it but still want to send a letter, shoot me an email at sprintmovement@gmail.com and I’ll send instructions.

  2. Donate your miles - Indigo and I are determined to visit Crystal in March. We have not had a chance to meet in-person yet, and she awaits our visit. It is critical that Crystal’s voice is included in Sprint, and we hope to get there soon without spending the money we fundraised for filming and compensating our artists. Thus, we are requesting donated miles through United, Southwest, Delta, or Virigin to get us there on March 17 & March 18. If you or someone you know has miles to spare from any of these airlines, please let us know ASAP with an email to sprintmovement@gmail.com

  3. Legal Representation - Crystal is incarcerated in North Carolina and in need of legal representation for her case. If you have any leads on criminal defense attorneys in the area who may be sympathetic to this case, please refer to sprintmovement@gmail.com

  4. Funding - Any donations made today (2/14) and thereafter to Sprint’s GoFundme page will be directed towards Crystal’s commissary and/or legal fees.

Last time I checked, our community helped us raise $5,000 in just one month to make this project happen, and filming is now underway thanks to y’all! I have every confidence that together, with love in our hearts, we can get shit done. If Sprint is a movement, it is an anti-criminalization movement. It is a healing movement. It is a loving movement. It is a movement of individuals who see art as a vehicle for creating the realities our communities deserve.

This is #WhyWeSprint

This Valentine’s Day, please accept my deep appreciation for all the love you’ve shown us in this work, and for your continued support as we fight and love hard together. Let’s get Crystal home.

With love,

Nana and Sprint Film Team

Call for Actors by Nana Duffuor

Sprint Fam,

We are now looking for talented actors to join the cast of Sprint. Auditions are next Saturday and Sunday (1/27 and 1/28). Please help spread the word!:

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We Did It, Y'all! by Nana Duffuor

To quote the potent words of Drake, "Started from the bottom now we here!"

Thank you for helping us start 2018 off with a bang! With over 80 donations in just one month, we exceeded our Sprint Team fundraising goal, raising $5,415 for our short film production!!!

I’d like to extend a special thanks to our dear friends Jocelyn Wong and Anna Salem, whose generous matching gift lit a fire under all our asses and pushed the campaign total over the edge!

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We are so deeply humbled and moved by your generosity, and we hold the power of your support closely as we move forward with this project. We have our first team meeting of 2018 this Sunday and are fired up and ready to go!

Despite our rather goofy promotional videos, much of the work involved in Sprint requires me and the Team to visit very difficult places emotionally and psychologically, to uplift experiences and stories that remind us of deep hurts, humiliations, and injustices in an effort to offer our communities healing and connection. Know that it’s your support--your financial investment, your kind words, your sharing of our work, your sharing of your own work, your sharing of opportunities--that inspires us to “take it there.” ‘Cause believe you me, we’re takin’ it there, with your love and support in our hearts every step of the way.

I’ll end with congratulations, y’all!!! We’re doing it!!! I look forward to sharing more of this journey with you. Happy New Year, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

With love and gratitude,
The Sprint Film Team