CAMDEN, NJ — Six young people of color — whose art spans poetry, the spoken word, painting and music — took the “virtual stage” for the South Camden Theatre Company’s online premiere Friday.

Dubbed “Virtual Variety Slam — Black Lives Matter” the video featurette (available to view here) is the first in a series. 

“The group of SCTC board members and our artistic director Ray Croce put out a call for work from any artist who wanted to voice their thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement,” Board President Robert Bingaman told TAPinto Camden. “What we got back is quite extraordinary. As I was assembling the 22-minute show, I often had to stop, breathe and learn from these people’s collective experiences.”

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Standing on a bare stage, Croce introduced the show by recounting how COVID-19 brought the waterfront south theater to a “standstill.” He spoke about the strife felt by so many throughout the country following the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25. 

"The video sparked complete outrage across the nation and calls for more justice. It sparked outrage here in Camden as well,” said Croce. “Black Lives Matter, I believe this wholeheartedly as does our theatre family here in the waterfront south of our district. Theater has many purposes besides entertainment. It holds a mirror up to society that shows its truth. It gives a voice to those that are often left mute.”

Meet the six artists featured in the SCTC’s first virtual show below

Brian Neal is a Philadelphia native actor and writer. He began his acting career at a young age performing, as the Wizard, in "The Wizard of Oz." Since then, he has been in works such as "A Raisin In the Sun," "Ruined" and "Hairspray." 

Erika Mays is a Black Actress and content creator living in and loving NYC. She’s heavily moved by our Black History and uses it daily to educate, inspire and create new passion projects that resonate with our ever-changing world. 

Jade Abrielle is an artist. She is primarily known as an actress, recognized for her raw and powerful vulnerability in dramas and dry sarcasm in comedies. Poetry has always been a creative comfort of hers, and she hopes that the poem she submitted will be one of many that she finally shares publicly. 

Nava Goodman is a writer, singer, actor, and creative connoisseur. Nava’s love for the arts has been present as long as she can remember. Her love has led her to several completed songs, scripts and films. Nava is a Lincoln University Alumnus and has dedicated herself to supporting at risk youth by working in the mental health field. 

“Color Isn’t a Crime” was painted by artist, Clara Wiersma. She and her partner Eileen Dabrowski work together bringing art alive through gallery openings and work such as this. 

Angell Gomez is A Puerto Rican actor, poet and writer. Angell was raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts where he began dancing in youth centers and eventually graduated from the Performing and Fine Arts High School. He attended Salem State University where he helped establish the Urban Arts Theatre, a diversity program for artists that felt underrepresented on campus. In 2015 Angell decided to pursue his artistic journey in New York City. Angell has since worked on music videos, short films and commercials like VH1's Trailblazers in 2018.