A Black History Month Celebration

February 2021, MIT Performing Series

The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity
Presented by Mass General Hospital and the Front Porch Arts Collective


Mass General Hospital (MGH), Front Porch Collective, the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), MIT Music and Theater Arts (MTA), and other organizations and groups throughout the Greater Boston area partnered together to celebrate and honor 2021 Black History Month.

A series of performances aimed to connect MGH and the Greater Boston community; highlighting our shared history and the importance of wellness, engaging innovators, and displaying rich talent in the arts. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization which helped establish Black History Month, selected the theme for 2021 as “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”

The month of programming included Soul Break with Front Porch and Fam, a digital concert; Young Nerds of Color (YNOC), a new play in development; and Fabulation or The Re-Education of Undine, a social satire by Lynn Nottage.


Past Events

Soul Break with Front Porch and Fam

February 22, 2021 / 7:30pm
A digital concert featuring the work of Porch Fam and Friends, Castle of Our Skins, Hipstory, and BAMS Fest, featuring:

Hipstory’s Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a short psychological suspense/thriller that tells the story of a doctoral student who is guest lecturing a series on the inequalities/disparities for African Americans in media representation. This movie, directed by Cliff Notez, follows this student navigating the day after a traumatic event has happened. We will walk our way through their psychotic break, trying to piece together clues that will point us to its cause. Vitiligo hopes to highlight Black mental health, structural racism as it relates to mental and physical health of the oppressed, and the continuous struggle of conscience duality.

Castle of Our Skins’s Soundbath for the Solar Plexus Chakra
“Every single moment of surrender is a peace treaty with my soul.” In South African composer Monthati Masebe’s Soundbath for the Solar Plexus Chakra, you are invited to surrender and let go of what holds you back. With dance and choreography from VLA Dance, this Castle of our Skins production was performed in November 2020 as part of its “Black Love” project: a multimedia healing journey through music, poetry, and dance.

Young Nerds of Color (a work in progress)

February 23, 2021 / 7:30pm

When and how did you fall in love with science? Who are the people who opened doors for you (or, conversely, got in your way)? What are your most personal hopes? Your wildest dreams? What challenges should science tackle now, and how? Why is diversity in professional science important?

Young Nerds of Color (YNOC) is a new play in development, written by Melinda Lopez and commissioned by Central Square Theater through their Catalyst Collaborative@MIT program, the nation’s longest-running partnership between a professional theater company and a world-class research institution. YNOC was created to respond to the growing lack of representation of people of color, young people, and women in science. Created from over 60 interviews, the inaugural production will be in Spring 2022. YNOC brings to the stage deeply-felt stories of people passionate about science for whom the journey has been complex. Dawn Simmons, Artistic Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective (The Porch) is the play’s director. The Porch is a theater-in-residence at Central Square Theater.

Learn more at CentralSquareTheater.org

Fabulation or The Re-Education of Undine, by Lynn Nottage

February 25, 2021 / 7:30pm

Fabulation is a social satire about the ambitious and bougie Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money. Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, Undine retreats to her childhood home in Brooklyn’s Walt Whitman projects, only to discover that she must cope with a crude new reality. Undine faces the challenge of transforming her setbacks into small victories in a battle to reaffirm her right to be.


Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that breaks down racial and social barriers to arts, music, and culture across Greater Boston. Celebrating and supporting both artists and audiences, with an emphasis on Black and Brown voices, perspectives, and artistry, BAMS envisions a vibrant and inclusive arts and culture sector for the city of Boston and beyond.

Website: bamsfest.org
Social: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

Castle of Our Skins is a Black arts institution dedicated to fostering cultural curiosity and celebrating Black artistry through music. In classrooms, concert halls, and beyond, Castle of our Skins invites Black heritage and culture exploration, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of past and present.

Website: castleskins.org
Social: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube

Catalyst Collaborative at MIT (CC@MIT) is a collaboration between MIT and two non-profit professional theater companies, Underground Railway Theater and the Nora Theater Company. Both companies are in residence at the Central Square Theater.

Website: centralsquaretheater.org

Front Porch Arts Collective is a black theater company based in Boston, Massachusetts committed to addressing the structural racism in the area, including the visible cultural segregation in the arts highlighted in a seven-part Spotlight series in the Boston Globe. The Collective works to inspire a more tolerant and inclusive city by serving communities of color and producing art that is inclusive and welcoming to all audiences. 

Biography: MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology
Website: frontporcharts.org
Social: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Hipstory is a digital media production company responsible for creating unique, innovative, and inspiring art. Redefining the future history of media by creating products that cultivate stories through professional audio & video production/engineering, Hipstory is dedicated to fostering a creative environment where clients can explore their vision and receive quality service.

Website: hipstory.org
Social: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

Huntington Theater Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets. The Huntington aims to engage, inspire, entertain, and challenge audiences with theatrical productions that range from the classics to new works. Training and supporting the next generation of theatre artists, the Huntington provides arts education programs that promote life-long learning to a diverse community and celebrates the essential power of the theatre to illuminate our common humanity. 

Website: huntingtontheatre.org
Social: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Massachusetts General Hospital has the largest hospital based research program in the United States. Guided by the needs of their patients, Mass General delivers care grounded in leading edge research, advanced treatment offerings and the latest clinical trials.

Website: mghraddiversity.org/boston-black-history-month/
Social: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube


Catalyst Collaborative at MIT

Huntington Theatre Company

A Black History Month Celebration is presented by Mass General Hospital and the Front Porch Arts Collective as part of the 2020–21 MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology  MIT Performing series, a prototyping and presenting series programmed by Jay Scheib, professor for Music and Theater Arts. The series is supported in part by the Council for the Arts at MITMIT Performing promotes a research-based artistic practice and serves as a new platform for contemporary performance.