The Lower Bottom Playaz

ESt. 1999 

Founding Director Ayodele "WordSlanger" Nzinga, MFA, PhD

Building community one story at a time.

From Gem of the Ocean through Radio Golf;The only troupe on earth to chronologically produce August Wilson's 10 Play Cycle American Century Cycle The originators of  Shakespeare in the Yard Series,(Shakespeare in the Hood)Ebony & Johnny and Mack: A Gangsta's Tale written about by Scott Newstock and TL Barnes in their academic coverage of urban adaptations of Shakespeare. We are the company that located the Black Canon in West Oakland by site specific adaptation --,Baldwin's Amen Corner and Hansberry's 'Raisin,' the creators of original theater, Mama at Twilight: Love by Death, Beyond the Bars, Mama's Letters. The presenters of  Oakland CA's first Black Arts Movement Theater Festival, Collective Acts

Producers of BAMBD's AFRO-FEST 2019  

We are more than entertainment. 

We are transformative theater.


2/2 &2/3

Lifer is based on the true life account of events that occurred during Glenn Baileys 52 years of incarceration in the California Penal System.

This work brings a season dedicated to exploring the world of incarceration to an end with this story about the resilience of the human spirit, redemption, and light found in unexpected places. 

Lifer is a darkly humorous cautionary tale filled with advice about how to avoid incarceration from the unlikely lead character: a convicted murderer. Glenn Bailey, a lifer at large, after 52 years of incarceration, is intent on saving lives as a way of ascribing value to his own. He is a unique and serenely hilarious yogi-like sage who is shaped by his modes of survival: building relationships, sharp insight and flawlessly honest self-reflection of his own life as well as the system from which he spent five decades learning.


Jail time has become a normalized event in Black and Brown lives. 

I argue there has never been freedom of movement for Black bodies in America, and that in every way imaginable the carceral system is an extension of the system of chattel slavery in this Country. 

If we wish to change the outcome we must disrupt the cycle and derail the systems. To that end we offer the power inherent in art to make the invisible visible so that we are clear as to what it is we must change to go forward. --Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD, Artistic Director

The Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc

"Black men are six times more likely than white men to be incarcerated in federal, state and local jails." -- Pew Research Center study 

Tickets on sale in the box office. 

produced by 

The Lower Bottom Playaz

We are more than entertainment. We are transformative theater.

Season18. Catch a Fire


The Lower Bottom Playaz

directed by 

Dr. A. Nzinga, MFA, PhD

Beyond the Bars:

Growing Home,

Charlie Levin's: The One Truthiness,




1540 Broadway



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 Portrait of August Wilson by James Gayles. Owned by the Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc. Available for purchase. $3,500.00

We are more than entertainment. 

We are transformative theater.

Creating what we need from what we have been gifted since 1999.