Freedom Theatre Launches FREEDOM SPEAKS Series

Freedom Theatre Launches FREEDOM SPEAKS Series

Freedom Theatre launches FREEDOM SPEAKS Series which takes place the first Monday of every month, beginning on March 7, 2016. Readings will begin at 6:30 pm, and admission is free.

The Series is rooted in the tradition of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. These gatherings were known as salons.

Traditionally, writers, visual artists, performers, educators, and others interested in cultural events gathered at these meetings.*



Join New Freedom as we launch the new

Freedom Speaks Salon Series

February 7, 2016, at 6:30 pm

The Series begins with a conversation with our own Barrymore Lifetime Achievement Award-winner,  Actor and Educator Johnnie Hobbs Jr. Mr. Hobbs was recently honored with the Award for his work this past November. His long association with New Freedom Theatre and his many contributions to the arts, both on stage and off have earned him the respect of his students and from his colleagues. As an accomplished actor, director and educator, Mr. Hobbs has contributed greatly to New Freedom Theatre productions and as Senior Artistic Advisor. A veteran of the Philadelphia theater scene, he has performed in many productions in the region. As an actor, Mr. Hobbs has performed at most of the major Philadelphia theaters. In addition to New Freedom Theatre, he appeared many times at the late Philadelphia Drama Guild. He has also worked at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Arden Theatre, 1812 and the Walnut Street Theater. In addition to his stage work in Philadelphia, he has been on stage in Los Angeles and Boston and appeared in many movies, TV shows, and commercials.

Mr. Hobbs is a retired, tenured associate professor at the Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts at The University of the Arts. In 1996, Mr. Hobbs was the recipient of the Mary Lou Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching. He was also the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Academic Achievement Program and the advisor of the African American Student Union and the African Diaspora Collective. Recent directorial efforts include Oh, Beautiful, Dessa Rose and Does Your House Have Lions – the poetry of Sonia Sanchez. The Legacy of Love Foundation – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (Philadelphia Chapter) honored Mr. Hobbs for his contribution in Arts & Culture.

Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. is proud of his forty year affiliation with the nationally recognized New Freedom Theatre and attributes much of his success to the training and mentoring he received from Freedom Theatre’s co-founders, the late John E. Allen, Jr. and Robert E. Leslie, Sr.

The three-time Barrymore nominee has played key roles in many of Freedom Theatre’s most critically acclaimed productions. Most notably: Black Nativity, Black Picture Show, Simply Heavenly with Melba Moore and Zooman and the Sign with Virginia Capers (Los Angeles Premier). Mr. Hobbs enjoyed critical success with Blue Door and The Whipping Man at the Arden Theatre. He distinguished himself in a tour-de-force performance of Paul Robeson by Phillip Hayes Dean, directed by Walter Dallas celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts. Other theatrical credits include the works of August Wilson: Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, and King Hedley II. He has traveled to China and Japan through Philadelphia’s Sister City Program and has participated in the international student collaboration between the University of the Arts and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in the UK.  He recently completed a national tour of Driving Miss Daisy.  Noteworthy film credits include principal roles in The In-Crowd, Twelve Monkeys, Snipes, Up Close and Personal, The Wire, Rocky Balboa with Sylvester Stalone, Cover directed by Bill Duke and independent film Nostalgia.


*Source: History Database