The Negro Ensemble Company

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Robert Hooks, Douglas Turner Ward, and Gerald Krone

The mission of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (NEC) is to provide African-American, African, and Caribbean professional artists with an opportunity to learn, to work, to grow, and to be nurtured in the performing arts. The overall mission of the NEC is to present live theatre performances by and about Black people to a culturally diverse audience that is often underserved by the theatrical community.


The Negro Ensemble Company 

The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) was founded in the summer of 1967, under the direction of actor Robert Hooks, actor, playwright, director Douglas Turner Ward, and producer, and director Gerald Krone. From its beginning, NEC was criticized for its integrated administration (Krone was white), its grant from the Ford Foundation, its location in Greenwich Village, and its first season’s bill.

The NEC also launched or boosted the careers of numerous African-American actors including Moses Gunn, Francis Foster, Adolph Caesar, Denise Nicholas, Roxie Roker, Esther Rolle, Rosalind Cash, David Downing, Judyann Elder, Arthur French, Hattie Winston, Clarice Taylor, Allie Woods, and Ron O’Neal. Others who performed with NEC included Stephanie Mills, Cleavon Little, Richard Roundtree, Lauren Jones, and Roscoe Lee Browne.”  – (


A Soldier’s Play

Adolph Caesar, Bill Cobbs, Charles Weldon, Samm Art Williams, Wayne Elbert, and Reyno.

A Soldier’s Play: Book by Charles Fuller. Various productions (1981 – 84) starring Charles Brown, Adolph Caesar, Peter Friedman, David Alan Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Brent Jennings, James Pickens, Jr., Denzel Washington, Graham Brown, O.L. Duke, Cedric Turner, Robert Gossett, Mike Hodge.

Originally produced (1981) by The Negro Ensemble Company and directed by Douglas Turner Ward.


The Great MacDaddy 

Reyno and Charles Weldon

The Great MacDaddy – The Negro Ensemble Company (The Great MacDaddy was initially staged in a 1974 Negro Ensemble Company.  

The production featured Al Freeman, Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Cleavon Little, and Hattie Winston.