What We Do

For 30 years Harlem Stage’s unique focus has been to identify visionary artists of color and support them by commissioning, presenting and producing their vital work that responds to the social and political conditions that shape our lives.

Harlem Stage - Dig Deeper

Dig Deeper

Thinking, Talking, Performing ART.

In this first half of its 30th season, Harlem Stage debuts Dig Deeper, a new initiative designed to provide audiences the chance to interact with artists and performers, and take part in the creative process. The initiative’s components include both live and virtual activities such as open rehearsals, pre- and post-performance discussions, free films that complement and enlighten the issues presented in staged performances, online content that expands audience knowledge about artists and the creative process and much more. Director of Programming Brad Learmonth says, “Dig Deeper offers the chance to expand the ‘Harlem Stage Experience,’ by illustrating Harlem Stage’s role as a catalyst, a conduit and an incubator of ideas that flow from the artistic programs we present.”

Look for the symbol next to performances in this season’s calendar and ‘dig deeper’.

Harlem Stage - Music


Harlem Stage has an extraordinarily rich tradition of presenting a full range of musical styles, reflective of the Harlem community. We provide a venue for new talent, encourage new collaborations between artists of different eras and styles, and explore the history of music with special musical tributes, panel discussions and educational programs. Some of the world’s most revered artists have performed on our stages, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Nancy Wilson, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Harry Belafonte, Jesse Norman, Leontyne Price, Cassandra Wilson and Bette Carter, just to name a few.

Recent Programs include:
  • Craig Harris’ God’s Trombones
  • Jason Moran’s Moran on Monk
  • Deidre Murray’s The Voice Within
  • Harlem Quartet
  • In Search of the Lost Riddim: Jamaican Jazz Fusion
  • Sacrifice: Meditation on the Vietnam Experience – Billy Bang and Yusef Komunyakaa
Harlem Stage presents music through the following programming initiatives:
  • WaterWorks
  • Harlem Stride
  • Harlem Stage Partners
  • Education Program

Harlem Stage - Dance


We have a rich history of commissioning, developing and presenting dance at Harlem Stage. We highlight the world’s cultures and contemporary dance by multicultural artists who represent various traditions and are creating new directions. Recently featured artists and companies include Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, and This Woman’s Work.

Harlem Stage supports and presents dance through the following programming initiatives:
  • E-Moves
  • WaterWorks
  • Fund for New Work
  • Harlem Stage Partners
  • Education Program

Harlem Stage - Theater


For years, Harlem Stage has presented performances in traditional and non-traditional theater forms that speak to our Harlem community. From spoken word and performance artists exploring new forms to our Playwrights in Performances series and the long-running reading series Sunday Work. Special presentations such as Avery Brooks in Robeson, and Voodoo Macbeth, have also graced our stages. The opening of The Gatehouse in 2006 enabled us to expand our capacity to present theater through extended play runs. We partner with such organizations as the Classical Theatre of Harlem to continue and expand on this rich tradition.

Harlem Stage supports and presents theater through the following programming initiatives:
  • WaterWorks
  • Harlem Stage Partners
  • Fund for New Work
  • Readings on Harlem Stage (to launch in 2010)

Harlem Stage - Film


Since we began almost 30 years ago we have presented over 500 films in a variety of programs, reflecting the diversity of Harlem by creative independent filmmakers whose work deserves notice. Their films excite, engage, inform and communicate traditions, ideas, trends, and histories through stories that we all can relate to – across diverse cultures, multiple generations and various technological and geographic divides.

These films include:
  • Beah: A Black Woman Speaks – by LisaGay Hamilton
  • The Healing Passage – by S. Pearl Sharp
  • La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul – by Ela Troyano
  • Gershwin, Norway, & The Artist’s Libido: A Dialogue with Anne Brown – by Nicole Franklin
  • Nothing But a Man – by Michael Roemer
  • E Minha Cara (That’s My Face) – by Thomas Allen Harris
  • Classified X – by Melvin Van Peebles
Harlem Stage presents film through the following programming initiatives:
  • Harlem Stage on Screen (formerly the Harlem Film Festival)

Harlem Stage - Education


Harlem Stage Inspiring Youth

Harlem Stage’s education programs engage over 10,000 students each year in the performing arts.
Four interrelated arts education programs at Harlem Stage provide young people with access to high quality live performances, opportunities to learn about and engage in the performing arts and the benefits.

Uptown Open

Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, 5PM
Three years strong, our partnership with Urban Word NYC continues with Uptown Open This monthly open mic series for teens is a safe, uncensored space for poets, spoken word artists, emcees, scholars and activists to share their powerful and important voices. These events are run by youth, for youth, with youth DJs, hosts, and a monthly-featured poet.

Co-presented by Urban Word NYC & hosted by the Word Wide Leadership Board

International Series

The International Series at Harlem Stage is the core education initiative that presents daytime performances from cultures across the globe; programs that:

  • Engage students with their own cultural heritage while introducing them to others
  • Offer performance study guides that connect with NYC Department of Education’s Blueprint for the Arts
  • Connect to evening and weekend performances at Harlem Stage for families
Harlem Stage In The Schools

Harlem Stage in the Schools partners with neighborhood schools to provide students with hands-on learning experiences in their classroom that:

  • Link arts with academic curricula
  • Offer residencies and workshops with teaching artists and performers
  • Encourage creative thinking in all academic endeavors
Harlem Stage Family Series

The Harlem Stage Family Series provides evening and weekend performances and workshops for students and their families to experience the arts together and interact with artists.