Huntington Theatre Company To Hold Breaking Ground Reading of John Oluwole ADEkoje's (Shoe) Shine Safari December 11

(BOSTON) – Huntington Theatre Company will hold a by-invitation-only Breaking Ground developmental reading of (Shoe) Shine Safari by Huntington Playwriting Fellow John Oluwole ADEkoje (Cry Baby Jones) on Tuesday, December 11 at 7:30pm at the Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Niegel Smith (Neighbors at The Public Theater) directs a cast that includes: Stephen Tyrone Williams as Shoe Shine; Johnny Lee Davenport (Vengeance is the Lord’s and the upcoming Invisible Man at the Huntington) as Driver/Father; Robert D. Murphy as Lincoln Douglas; Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Huntington) as Amina; Reg Cathey as General Butt Naked/Big House/Rebel 1; James Milford as Rebel 2; and others.

Ex-child soldier Shoe Shine wants to escape the violent chaos of his homeland for the comforts of America. But before he can leave, he must face the schemes of imperialist superheroes and naked generals, not to mention the dreams of his scattered family. As the radio remixes news of atrocities with hit singles, (Shoe) Shine Safari pieces together a future from the wreckage of conflict and exploitation.

John Oluwole ADEkoje is playwriting fellow Huntington Theater Company. He was the recipient of The Roxbury International Film Festival’s Local Filmmaker award for his documentary Street Soldiers, which also showed at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France, The World Film Festival in Montreal, as well as the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and for which he received the Brother Thomas Fellowship Award. Most recently, he was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Award for Knockaround Kids, his first narrative feature, at the Roxbury International Film Festival. John Oluwole ADEkoje,  teaches theatre and film production at Boston Arts Academy.

(As of Septmeber 2020)

Niegel Smith previously directed the Huntington's production of Jagun Fly (2012) as part of the Summer Play Workshop. Mr. Smith is a performance artist and theatre director who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts, and imagine future narratives. His walks have been produced by Elastic City and his theatre by The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, HERE Arts Center, Hip-Hop Theater Festival, Summer Play Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. With Todd Shalom, Mr. Smith co-conceived and staged various mass performances in public settings. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, the associate director of the Tony Award-winning musical FELA!, and he has received grants and fellowships from Theatre Communications Group, the Van Lier Fund, and the Tucker Foundation.

(As of June 2014)

The Huntington Theatre Company’s Breaking Ground reading series is a vital part of its commitment to championing local and national playwrights and developing new work for the American theatre. Past Breaking Ground plays that have subsequently been produced at the Huntington and/or at theatres across the country and internationally include The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck, The Atheist by Ronan Noone, Voyeurs de Venus by Lydia R. Diamond, Deported/a dream play by Joyce Van Dyke, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, and Making up the Truth by Jack Hitt. Visit for information about upcoming readings.

“The Breaking Ground readings are the cornerstone of the Huntington's new play development activities, which include our writers’ collective, in-house readings, public readings, workshops and, since last summer, our Summer Workshop,” says the Huntington’s Director of New Work Lisa Timmel. “This spectrum recognizes writers' varied development needs and provides a framework for writer-driven development. I am immensely proud of the Huntington's long-standing and sincere commitment to the development and production of new plays, especially new plays by Boston area writers.”

Learn more about the Huntington’s new work initiatives at



Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit

© 2021 Huntington Theatre Company. All rights reserved | Trouble viewing this site? Please download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.