071: In Communion with James Baldwin. In Conversation with Tristan André Parks.

Tristan André Parks. Born and raised of and by Nashville, TN. Tristan now holds his MFA in Acting from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Professional Actor Training Program. An art maker, organizer and “social justice front line worker,” Tristan is on his way to creating a home and community in New York City with all of the intentions of creating a home across the Atlantic and back! He loves deeply and without exception. To art. To disruption. To family. To peace. The game is afoot. He seems ready. Are you? And so it IS.

In this episode we focus on Tristan’s original theatre/dance/spiritual performance piece titled “They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin”. Contribute to Tristan’s GoFundMe Campaign!

Tristan André Parks.
Photo credit: Miguel Herrera @mheadshots 

Fundraiser performance on Saturday, April 27 at 7pm, Walltown Studio Theatre, 1225 Berkeley Street, Durham, North Carolina 27705, In partnership with Unforgotten Media.

Stay tuned for information about the full-length piece that will be performed as part of a residency at Thomas DeFrantz’s Slippage Lab at Duke University May 10-11. Don’t miss it.

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox!  This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews.

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Questions for Tristan André Parks


Today we’re focusing on your original dance/theatre/music piece titled They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin. How would you describe this piece (in brief)? What can audiences expect to experience? Who are your collaborators in this production?


What about his work and his message captivates you?

On your GoFundMe page you wrote, “It is necessary to continue to redefine the way that Baldwin impacts this new generation of artists so as to explore the relevance and how we all embody his work, his words and his legacy.”

What do you see as his relevance and impact on this new generation of artists (or what would you like it to be)?


James Baldwin was an activist and generally considered a literary (playwright, novelist) figure. Yet this project began in a movement course…I’d like to share an excerpt of a review from Toshi Reagon on FB that included: “…at the center of it all was the body. The dance invocation took residence in the church on the pulpit and up and down the aisles Tristan in a black suit, white shirt, black tie handled himself through the architecture of the clothes he was wearing. I don’t think I have seen anyone conjure dance Baldwin before last night.”

Why did you choose to  “dance Baldwin”? How do you do that?

How do you weave your own life experience and story into this piece?


You described this piece as “a catalyst for taking wings into the world” — Say more about that, your experience in the MFA program. Is They Do Not Know Harlem a bridge between these two worlds (before and after grad school) as well?


Evolution of the Project

(fundraiser, residency at Duke, beyond)

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

Jesus (1400 × 1400 px)-2

Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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