PROJECT1VOICE is a national grassroots movement designed to support and cultivate artistic excellence, creativity and innovation among African-American theatre organizations, along with preserving the legacies of these theaters and those of African-American playwrights.
“It is our mission to engage people of every age with a continuum of experiences that reflect the virtuosity, creative and inclusive spirit of the arts.”
PROJECT1VOICE was created by Erich McMillan-McCall in 2010 after observing that many theater organizations around the country were financially strapped and barely keeping afloat in this harsh economic climate. The problem was magnified even more among historically African-American theater organizations, which have been the mainstay of employment for many minority theater professionals.
With this in mind, Erich partnered with like-minded people and thus PROJECT1VOICE was born.
“Black theater is alive. It’s vital. It’s just not funded.”
– August Wilson
“I was inspired by two great quotes from August Wilson,” says McMillan-McCall, who grew up in College Hills, graduated from Ramsay High School and Birmingham-Southern College and performed in numerous shows at Town and Gown Theatre. “He said, ‘Black theater is alive, and it’s vital; it’s just not funded,’ and he also once said his work ‘expresses the universal by targeting the specific.”
To that end, McMillan-McCall and Project 1 Voice are expressing the struggle of arts groups in general by targeting black theaters specifically.
McMillan-McCall, who helped launch Aldridge Repertory Theatre, did most of his local work at Town and Gown under the direction of the late James Hatcher, whom he calls a “guiding light.” “He was a very driven man and had a clear focus for Town and Gown,” McMillan-McCall says. “He wanted people to know that there were some amazingly talented people in the state of Alabama.” McMillan-McCall hopes Project 1 Voice, which will be an annual event, does the same for black theaters.