WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. and comedian Sinbad highlight the list of celebrities expect to be at the National Black Theatre Festival.

The festival will be held Monday, July 31 through August 5, 2017 throughout Winston-Salem. It's the country’s only national black theatre festival offering six consecutive days of professional theatre, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and more. NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin.

Expected celebrity guests include:

  • Actor and comedian Sinbad
  • Angela Robinson, Peter Parros and Crystal Fox from the TV show 'The Have and Have Nots'
  • Janet Hubert from 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'
  • Morocco Omari from the hit show 'Empire'
  • Stephen Henderson from feature films 'Lincoln' and 'Everyday People'
  • Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams, who depicted a couple on soap opera 'All My Children'
  • Hal Williams from 'Sanford and Son'
  • Vanessa Bell Calloway from 'Coming to America'

Gossett Jr. leads the list of honorees, which include Ron Himes, Ron Simons and Dominique Morisseau. Gossett Jr. is known for his roles in Roots and An Officer and a Gentleman and is receiving the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award.

Officials say announcements will include a list of the 2017 NBTF performances, honorees, celebrity guests and other important information about this year’s Festival. Surprise performances will help set the stage for this historic and culturally significant event. Officials say there is something for everyone this year.

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Officials announced earlier this year that actors Anna Maria Horsford and Obba Babatunde are this year’s Festival celebrity co-chairs. Those interested in volunteering during the Festival are asked to meet at the Arts Council Theatre located at 610 Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem on Monday, June 5 at 7 p.m.

This year, the festival will also feature a Pre-Festival Comedy Kickoff featuring Sinbad on Saturday July 29th, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. Sinbad is ranked by Comedy Central as one of the “100 Greatest Standups of All Time,” actor and comedian Sinbad has had audiences laughing for over three decades. Throughout his incredibly successful career as a standup comedian, Sinbad has starred in two Comedy Central specials and four HBO comedy specials. As an actor, Sinbad has been featured in leading roles in such films as JINGLE ALL THE WAY and GOOD BURGER, and on the FX super series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Tickets for Sinbad go on-sale today 10 a.m. Tickets range in price from $30 for general seating to $75 for seats at the front of the stage. Tickets are available online at as well as at the Fairgrounds Annex box office.

For additional information and a schedule of events, call the Festival office at 336.723.2266 between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit them online at