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Avenue Blackbox Theatre Kicks off 5th Anniversary Season with Award-Winning play Blood at the Root

A bold play based on the “Jena Six” explores injustice, racial double standards and breakdowns in relations between people of all classes

Rochester, NY - The Avenue Blackbox Theatre is proud to present BLOOD AT THE ROOT, a play by Dominique Morriseau (TONY-nominated book writer of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations) and directed by Reenah Golden, Founder, CEO & Artistic Director of The Avenue BlackBox Theatre. Blood at the Root is based on the “Jena Six” and originated at the Penn State School of Theater in 2014. It has gone on to play at the National Black Theatre in Harlem, NYC in 2016, and was produced in many more theaters across the country since then. It’s a striking Hip-Hop theatre ensemble piece that explores the story of high school students who take action after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus.The play will be presented at The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, located at 780 Joseph Avenue Rochester, NY 14621 on Friday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, August 19 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Based on the true story of “Jena Six” (2007), the play follows six Black students who were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus. This bold play by Dominique Morisseau (Sunset Baby, Detroit '67, Skeleton Crew) examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, class, gender, homophobia as well as the crises in human and racial relations that contribute to the fragile state of education and Black family life.

Meet the Cast:

  • Raylynn, the rule breaking protagonist - Race: African American, Age: 18 played by Samyria Blythers and Brianna Bynoe.

  • De’andre, a star athlete struggling with loss - Race: African American, Age: 16 played by JahLuv Guy.

  • Asha, the culture crossing best friend of Raylynn - Race: White, Age: 18 played by Ari D'Arienzo.

  • Justin, the moderate school newspaper editor - Race: African American, Age: 18 played by Kamaria McFadden and Faith Lumly.

  • Toria, the radical school newspaper reporter - Race: White, Age: 18 played by Jewelia Smith.

“Morisseau has given us a gift in Blood at the Root,” said Golden. “It is an extremely relevant play and in our table reading discussion my youth actors have thoughtfully expressed again and again how much they relate to the issues brought up in the play. People who attend this show are definitely going to feel their passion!”


About The Avenue Black Box Theatre: The Avenue Blackbox is a safe, bold, creative, Black-led multidisciplinary performance space located in the Historic Joseph Avenue neighborhood of Rochester, NY created to offer affordable, meaningful, culturally rich experiences created by artists of color, youth, LGBTQIA+ and those traditionally marginalized or silenced in a wide array of artistic disciplines to city of Rochester residents and visitors. For more information, visit:

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