Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Fierce Urgency Festival

In a 1967 address at New York City’s Riverside Church, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encapsulated the soul of a nation sharply divided by the Vietnam War. 

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today,” King said. “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” 

Those powerful words ring equally true today. The Center for the Performing Arts is taking “vigorous and positive action” in the best way we know how: by promoting inclusion, equity, empathy, and celebrating diversity through the performing arts. 

The Fierce Urgency Festival is a three-year series of events focused on Black artists and designed to highlight, feature, and educate about artists and art forms of color. The festival will feature multiple week-long residencies with Mwenso and The Shakes to spur immersive experiences through curricula, the community, and themed performances. 

The festival is produced in partnership with Electric Root, producing music with purpose.