Residency: Rickerby Hinds

Hip-Hop Theater Project / Blood of Souls / Blackbox

CNP/Duende CalArts welcomes Hip-Hop Theater pioneer Rickerby Hinds for a series of workshops.

Currently, Hinds is developing Blackbox, a new project inspired by Henry Box Brown, who escaped slavery and became a noted abolitionist speaker, magician, and showman.

Blackbox takes the narrative of Henry Box Brown and transforms it into an epic poem with hip-hop influences…and magic. The story unfolds around a mysterious box, a re-envisioning of the box in which Henry spent 27 hours on his way to freedom. As Henry’s life transforms from one setting to another, the dialogue, movement, and music take multiple forms: spoken word poetry, black minister’s sermon, political stump speech, academic lecture, sports announcer, TURF Dance, Butoh, rap, and gospel. And of course, Henry performs feats of magic inspired by the horrific and spectacular events in his life.

Rickerby Hinds first joined CNP for two workshops in 2020 and 2021. The Hip-Hop Theater Project exposed participants to the elements of hip-hop culture (MC/Rap, Breakdancing/Hip-Hop Dance, Graffiti Art, DJ-in, Knowledge) as tools for the creation of theater. The exploration of a Hip-Hop Theater work-in-progress Blood of Souls about Frederick Douglass allowed students to use the explored elements in theatrical creations of their own.

Artist Biography

Rickerby Hinds is one of the pioneers of Hip-Hop Theater who has the unique ability to challenge conventional notions of the stage while taking advantage of its history and traditions. A native of Honduras who immigrated to South Central Los Angeles at age 13, his work draws on his multifaceted background to create theater that is simultaneously challenging, compelling and entertaining.

Hinds received his MFA in playwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television where he was awarded the coveted Audrey Skirball-Kenis (ASK) Award for best play for an unprecedented two years. His work has been developed by venues including the Mark Taper Forum, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Royal Court Theatre in London and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (where he presented the first hip-hop Theater play in their history Blackballin’ in 2008). Hinds’ productions explore the human condition employing the aesthetics, as well as the performance instruments of hip-hop culture – MCing, hip-hop dance, beatboxing, graffiti (aerosol art), DJin.

He is currently the chair of the Department of Theater Film & Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside and founding director of Riverside Studios where he continues to break new ground in works for the stage and screen by expanding the definition of both theater and hip- hop expression though works like Dreamscape in which he uses beatboxing, dance and spoken word to explore the problematic relationship between the Black community and the police; or Amplified Fidelity: An exploration of Humanity Through Sound in which the entire history of the universe and human beings’ quest for survival is explored using only beatboxing. Hinds is also a partner at Voice Media Ventures multimedia company.

Hinds recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship (2016) in his native Honduras, and his work has toured Romania, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Turkey, as well as numerous venues in the US. His play Dreamscape received a record 6 2016 Los Angeles NAACP nominations and won: Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, it has also been adapted into the award-winning film My Name is Myeisha which Hinds co-wrote and produced.