Harlem Shakespeare Festival

(A Part of Take Wing and Soar Productions)


Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Take Wing And Soar Productions exist primarily to help classical actors of color to realize their full potential.  

The mission of the theatre production company is to support emerging and professional classical artists of color, by fostering their artistic achievement and personal growth, by providing opportunities for career development, and by developing creative programming that fosters diversity in classical theatre. 


Inherent in this mission is the intent to develop an awareness of personal value, cultural pride, and social leadership practices, in the belief that this awareness will lead to concern for, participation in and improvement of society.  

To accomplish this mission, the theatre production company offers professional opportunities to classical actors of color of all ages, as well as, pre-professional preparation and referral services.  

Central to these efforts is the staging of traditional classic works, which showcase classically trained artists of color.  And provides these classical artists, who have achieved significant training, with opportunities to create emotionally significant work for the stage.  

We intend to expose the public to the works of these artists as a means of opening up a dialogue of cultural diversity, understanding and unity in the arts.  The theatre production company seeks to be a resource and an educational alliance for the arts and culture community.  

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I decided that I am going to start a theatre company where classically trained actors of colour get opportunities to perform whatever classics they want to perform.
— Debra Ann Byrd, Founder, Harlem Shakespeare Festival

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