'Keepers Of The Culture'
50 years of Black Theater
  M A I N S T A G E   

  April 10th thru May 10th

Directed by
A  R  T     E  V  A  N  S
(Berkeley High School Hall Of Famer & Esteemed Hollywood Actor& Original Broadway Cast Member)

The play addresses themes of the role of a
church in an African-American family and the effect of a poverty born of racial prejudice on an African-American community.
The Amen Corner takes place in two settings: a ‘‘corner’’ church in Harlem and the apartment dwelling of Margaret Alexander, the church pastor, and of her son, David, and sister Odessa. After giving a fiery Sunday morning sermon, Margaret is confronted by the unexpected arrival of her long estranged husband, Luke, who collapses from illness shortly thereafter. Their son, David, along with several elders of the congregation, learn from Luke that, while Margaret had led everyone to believe that he had abandoned her with their son years ago, it was in fact Margaret who had left a dysfunctional Luke and pursued a religious life.




A black preacher returns to his hometown to open a church, outwitting a segregationist plantation owner to make it happen, in this musical adaptation of Ossie Davis' play
Purlie Victorious
 This musical Stageplay was A Black Rep staple-


Artistic/Exec. Director

Dr. Mona Vaughn Scott

Our Leader:
Mona Vaughn Scott PhD

Development  Director


Sean Vaughn Scott

3201 Adeline St. Berkeley CA. 94703





-Instruction In Dramatic Arts.

-The opportunity to perform daily!

- DRAMATIC Interpretation

-Performance opportunities before live audiences.


-The experience of video/film and production, while creating A documentary on the camp itself.

-Stage Management

-Prop Management

-scene,sound,and set design.

and closing out the camp is THE GRAND FINALE -Stretch Limos and the closing Paparazzi Night!


Black Repertory Group (est  1964) exists as  the oldest Black Folklore Group of its kind in the nation. Our #1  goal
continues to be, to  utilize A theatre stage, and  its related functions to buid a sense of pride and self-esteem in  the participants within our programing, including our audiences.
We invite you to celebrate  what, together we have accomplished.. 

Due to your continued support, this 50 year Milestone
represents sustained efforts to  provided  people of "all RACES,CREEDS, COLORS, & ORIENTATIONS "with    the 
 chance to discover and/or re-discover Americas Rich Black Cultural Heritage.

"I use theater.  The stage is itself, just the vehicle that provides the means to get the job done. I never set out to pursue 4 stars."-
                           Nora Vaughn.


The founders of Black Repertory Group were  both
college educated  teachers by profession,  in the town of Vicksburg Mississippi .

'We had A simple but  powerfrul
mission teach as many people as God would let us, about Black History through the staging   of the works of Black Playwrites
                       Birel  L. Vaughn 

Having no idea  that this mission    that   they    were dedicated to would reward us all  with an   unparalleled  legacy, that they themselves  couldn't    possibly   have 
 ever  even  imagined.

The reward?

 Well for teaching the citizens of Vicksburg their history In the late 1950's,
the founders were  forced to migrate    from
 by The ongoing pursuit by the KKK.

 On 2 occasions,  Birel and Nora were visited by the Klan.  The KKK  strongly advised them to cease sharing Black Theater and warned  
them that if they didn't
stop   teaching     black  people  about cultural awareness and Black Pride, they would be dealt with    harshly.     The Klan departed and both  Birel, and Nora,    in     defiance     
continued with  THE  MISSION


A  third and final time,  on a Hot Summers Night,  the Ku Klux Kllan, again visited,  only this time A cross was burned in the yard and    the family home took gunfire, nearly killing their youngest daughter   Mona

(Artistic Executive.Director
Mona Vaughn Scott PhD

    As the Klan departed ,voices departing into the distance  echoed  A promise to return to finish the job.  

With  A  bounty on his head, and A family in grave danger. 
Birel Vaughn decided he had no other choice but to leave  town that night.  After moving his family to safer surroundings, he told his wife and Soulmate  he would move North to prepare a destination for his family.  
Immediately Nora, was dead set against it.,  she wanted to stay and fight. However,  after more    careful   consideration    Nora finally conceded, but only under  1 condition.
    The condition was that Birel L. Vaughn would go and make A way, then send for the family, and  "where ever they settled up North,  they would return to what they knew was their 'calling' as ' Keepers Of The Culture'.
        In search of A safe haven for his family    Birel L. Vaughn dropped anchor in the Southern part of A small College town, named Berkeley,
well-known for its liberalism and  free-speech

Finding work on the shipyards and working A second job in masonry was no easy task.
However, in spite of it all,  after a brief time, Birel  made enough to  send for  his wife and family to reunite.

While making A way for his families return,in addition to building his own home, 
Birel  L. Vaughn  found time in between   his    jobs    to  lay
  foundation    for  Downs Methodist     Church.

would become the
much needed  foundation of bedrock for the early beginings of the fledgling theatrical collective.
  Church members began to
 meet and perform in Christmas plays and Easter plays.on A regular basis. Birel taught and led the  Downs Methodist
teaching, supporting,
& producing musical greats like Bill Bell

and Joyce Maxie, 
Nora taught Christmas and Easter   Plays.

After A small span of time passed, Nora reminded her husband that she had A degree from Alcorn State. in Black Theater.  She went on to remind Birel that she could only stage the rise and fall of Christ in so many ways. It was time they both made good on the promise they made before God to further the KEEPING OF THE CULTURE through the works of Black play writes.

Homegrown 'The Group' as members began to call themselves, were formally bred in California, in the belly of Downs  Methodist  Church
It was 1962  and The Group spun off from the church to pursue the desire  to perform the works of 'Secular Black Play writes' in line with  the ORIGINAL mission. 

'The Group' performed regularly throughout the Bay Area, The Kilamanjaro House was a favorite spot for Theater Patrons to catch a  show performed by 'The Group'.  The Group regularly performed at Senior Centers , recreation centers, as well as  outdoors. 

"In the beginning we were really nomadic, we didn't even have a home.  All we had was loyalty to the commitment  of our mission, but that was all we needed."
                    Mr. Wilbur Lamar

In 1964 the group incorporated as A Non-Profit Theater Group. 
A short time after that the surprise Birel gave his wife was
A huge one. Unbeknownst to Nora  A small double storefront at 1719 Alcatraz Ave, had been secretely being  converted into
a small theater that sat 99 people, with  a  very small stage, A lighting booth and an area to sell concessions from.  Small as it was, it was home and 'The Group' performed
 their 1st production on their own stage.  The production was PURLIE    VICTORIOUS. It was here at this home that the Group changed its formal name to Black Repertory Group and performed the works of over 150 different Black Playwrites.   

 'The Black Repertory Group
 expanded  it s    mission    to include A New Arts program for emerging new Playwrites and
Artists, A    Youth Program, and a with A grant from the Junior League, a Theatrical  Health Education  program would follow shortly in response to the relevant needs of the community.
    It was the beginning of the the  civil rights movement and  A tense     racially charged  nation increased in its pursuit of their rightful place in history.

     Similar, but yet different than the     'Harlem Renaissance'  
the Black struggle    and the Civil Rights movement. helped to support the popularity of black theater.  Black Repertory Groups began to populate across the nation St. Louis, Northh Carolina, and other cities.     Another    sweeping    journey across the landscape of America found Blacks in the protest and pursuit of justice and understanding,
This  coupled  with curious whites   desire   to  understand  the  ' Black   Experience',
gave birth to A new Era in Black Theater and in turn 
 created A  large theater patronage. 

These 2 factors    combined  together created  A  fertile ground   for an   explosion of   growth for Berkeley's 
fledgling  theater, Black Repertory Group.

Co-Founders Birel L. Vaughn and Nora B. Vaughn, current Artistic Director Mona Vaughn Scott PhD, Sean Vaughn Scott , along with many faithful Board Members, City Officials, Foundations , Corporations, ,actors, musicians, church groups, social service agencies & our most valued patrons and Volunteers,
have  built upon the Cornerstone of this vehicles LEGACY. 
A vehicle which has  which has produced many famous Social Activist, as well as 
 Hollywood Icons like  Danny Glover,

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
 wrote her first grant for Black Repertory Group.  
 Ishmael Reed , Joan California Cooper

 Loften Mitchell
Bubbling Brown Sugar

and A multitude of Well-Known writers, Actors  Kelita Smith,
 Paul Mooney,Teri J. Vaughn, Katt Williams,
Mega-Film and Stage Producer David E. Talbert 


Katt Williams in First Sunday the movie was actually 
 produced by David E. Talbert  who got his start at Black Rep-(Both performed at BRG)

Paul Mooney who performed in his begginings at BRG, and Dick Gregory IN CONSCIOUS A show produced and Toured by BRG

Mark Curry

Moms Mabley

Theatrical Artist, African American Pioneers in Black Theater

BRG receives LONGEVITY AWARD.  'GODFATHER OF BLACK THEATER' WOODY KING — at The National Black Theater Festival Winston- Salem N.C.)

Movie Producers,

President of Lionsgate Films Michael Paseornek ,visits the BRG to make the show A movie Director Sean Vaughn Scott and screenwriter of 'For Colored Girls' Nzingha Stewart @ Berkeley Black Repertory Group) 

Poets like Maya Angelou,
Ntozake Shange

Nikki  Giovanni,  Joan 'CALIFORNIA'  CooperMusical Composers Carman Moore
 and many more artists that used A Black Rep stage to hone their skills.

"If the kids could get on stage, the  job would be done.

Its not just the applause from the crowd that does it. Its that kid that hears the adulation in the in the voices of the crowd and gets to recognize it as A
voice of support  from a family member,

community member.  Equally important and equally important    is the further
 'approval   received from those people they dont even know -
It's that  feeling of "'I am part of this accomplishment" that  will help us to believe in who we
".-Mona Vaughn Scott PhD
 Along the way it is the stories written by our black writers, that chronicle our history and work to embody our experiences and share with us about who we are. 
"Throughout the process from beginning to final curtain call, the magic the stage holds for our children, well it sparkles just like that in the child that exists at the center of the hearts in  all of us adults.  And
it is that achievement that
works so profoundly in all of us,regardless of race, creed, color, or orientation and that's the reward!-
Sean Vaughn Scott

Keepers Of  The  Culture is
 the nickname Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis gave to the founders of BRG.

'We stage,what entertains and informs as we chronicle the status and history  of Americas Rich Black Cultural Heritage "
-Co-Founder Birel  L.Vaughn.
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