One of the most lamentable aspects of Philly arts history is that Black folks and featured programming have always had to be nomadic. With the city's volatile economic landscape, disdain from venue managers and law enforcement, and the mercurial interests of the artists themselves, performance spaces were constantly on the move. Pre-social media, that meant handmade flyers and word-of-mouth were your best bets to know where to be and who to see on a weekly or monthly basis.
Soul Sanctuary's for-profit parent company, Creator's Child Productions, made its mark in this creative environment by organizing consistent performance opportunities for the artists that were a part of its management stable. In between educational workshops or larger theatrical presentations, the CCP Ink roster was often present to test out new material at open mics and support one other's feature performances. One such event was titled VERGE.
Beginning with a steady presence at The Rotunda, a converted Christian Science church just on the outer edge of the University of Pennsylvania's campus, VERGE became mobile and landed at what was then known as the Red Room of dance club Brave New World. Ironically, this space would later become the official home of Soul Sanctuary in its first incarnation as a performance venue in April 2002.
VERGE drew vocalists, musicians, poets and even comedians together to share their promising works-in-progress, with a philosophy that anyone in the Philly arts scene could be on the verge of their big breakthrough toward professional acclaim. In July 2000, that included an unofficial listening party for our hometown heroine JILL SCOTT, who had just released her debut album. Creator's Child and Hidden Beach Recordings were promotional partners to help spread the word about this uber-talented North Philadelphia phenom who was poised to take the world by storm. We were also treated to a quick standup routine from FRED "Mutton" THOMAS, who had recently charted his own success in the popular Budweiser "Whuzzup" commercial series.
Showing love and sharing successes...that's the Soul Sanctuary way.