Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, theatre that enlightens, was founded in 2001 under the leadership of Founder Darryl Reuben Hall with a mission ‘to enlighten the mind by way of the Arts through the African-American experience’. Stage Aurora is a 501c3 non-profit professional theatrical organization that brings the Arts to underserved communities of Jacksonville, FL inclusive of the underserved community of Northside Jacksonville.
Stage Aurora offers the Main Stage Series of Drama, Comedy, and Musicals along with the Community Outreach Series which offers the: Annual Performing Arts Summer Institute, Aurora Lecture Series, 100 Youth Voices, Aurora Jacksonville Black Arts Festival, and the Schools Matinee Series for school students.
The Main Stage has produced over 100+ theatrical productions including Pulitzer Prize Winners DRIVING MISS DAISY, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, FENCES, THE PIANO LESSON, and Tony Award Winners THE COLOR PURPLE, DREAMGIRLS, THE WIZ, and A RAISIN THE SUN. Other classics include CROWNS, MISS EVERS’ BOYS, MAMA, I WANT TO SING, Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, and a community favorite Darryl Reuben Hall’s FRAT HOUSE. Additional original works include Darryl Reuben Hall’s THE DINNER and DRAWN FROM THE WATER. Critics have praised our works as Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN ‘was both splendid and captivating’, Langston Hughes’ BLACK NATIVITY “All color and life and unbelievable, this is a miraculous spectacle of Biblical and artistic proportions”; Tom Stolz’s MAHALIA as ‘an exceptional masterpiece’, and Darryl Reuben Hall’s FRAT HOUSE “impressively choreographed, energetic, and lots of fun, 5-Stars!
Acknowledgements and awards garnered include: a 2016 Black History Month Honoree for Onyx Magazine, Art Ventures Recipient, Selected as 2014 Jacksonville Black History Month Calendar Honoree; recipient of (2) Festival Favorite Awards at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival; Individual Arts Award/Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Onyx Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts and Music, Rosetta LeNoir award nomination for Diversity from Actors’ Equity, and Florida Star News –People to Watch. Stage Aurora has been featured in local, statewide, and national publications of Black Masks, Arbus, and Flavour Magazines.
Past, current, and upcoming funding partnerships include (3) Challenge America Fast Track grants as well as Salary Assistance support received from the National Endowment for the Arts; National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, Community Foundation at Northeast Florida, Actors’ Equity Association; Partnership, Mini grant, and Speaker’s Bureau funding from the Florida Humanities Council, Sam’s Club, Walmart, IMS Engineers, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Jaguars Foundation, Open Society Institute (affiliate of the George Soros Foundation); Southern Arts Federation, Regions Bank, among others.
Stage Aurora continues to present unique artistic works: Spoken Word Artist DANIEL BEATY in EMERGENCY, Center for Contemporary Dance (Winter Park, FL) in COLOURS OF COURAGE, a Tyrone Young Film FILLING THE GAP, visual artist Lauren Austin, and the FAMU Strikers All –Stars (Florida A & M University). The Aurora Lecture Series has presented many guest lecturers to complement main stage productions: Dr. Brenda Simmons-Hutchins, Dr. Abel Bartley (Clemson University), Bob Devin Jones, Dr. Susan Fernandez, Mary Fears, Lauren Austin, Leroy Mitchell, Dr. Maxine Montgomery (FSU), Dr. Maxine Jones (FSU).
To up the ante in the artistic development of the theatre, Stage Aurora incorporated Artistic Associates: Angela Robinson (Broadway’s The Color Purple and Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots), T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (Cosby and In Living Color); Sondra Bonitto (Broadway’s Ragtime), Roumel Reaux (Broadway’s The Wiz), and Natasha Williams (Broadway’s The Color Purple). Artistic Associates serve as director, choreographer, Masterclass teacher, and/or technical advisors.
Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, through its Main Stage Series of Drama, Comedy, and Music, continues to serve nearly 15,000 residents of Jacksonville and North Florida.