Step Afrika! returns to Boston with ‘Drumfolk’ show inspired by the Stono Rebellion

Combining the past, with slaves using their feet and floors as drums, with the present, and step lines created on college campuses;  Step Afrika! returns to Boston with “Drumfolk” at the Emerson College Cutler Majestic Theater.

“”The body becomes an instrument. This show. This show became and answer to us, or rather an answer as to why we stepped in the first place,” says show director, C. Brian Williams.

Drumfolk is inspired by The Stono Rebellion of 1739. It was an uprising initiated by 20 enslaved Africans who used their drums to start a revolt in South Carolina. The rebellion was suppressed, and the Negro Act of 1740 took away the right to assemble, read and use drums from the African people.

“”The Stono Rebellion of 1739 that pre-dates the famed Boston Tea Party. Another very important rebellion in American history. And that fact that we’re bringing this story to life is really important to me because I know it’s a history that hasn’t been shared,” says Williams.

Boston 25′s Crystal Haynes sat down with Williams in the Museum of African American history in Boston. The floors under are original in the African Meeting House where greats like Frederick Douglass stood.

Williams explained, floors like that were used as drums when the instrument was outlawed.

“”In the South they’d call them praise houses and they were very simple, wooden structures. By the pounding of their feet, or the pounding of a stick called a stamping stick on the floor. If you think about tap, turning the floor into a drum; you think about hambone. Turning the body into a drum. Of course stepping. And there’s another dance form that we do in this show called the ring shout. “”

Williams says the show is for anyone.

“”Anyone who loves history should see this show. Anyone who loves dance. Anyone who loves music. Anyone who loves theater that doesn’t require you to be quiet. This is definitely celebratory theater.“”

You can catch Step Afrika at Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theater through October 16th.

Ticket info:

Tickets for Drumfolk performances may be purchased 24/7 at, or by calling 617-824-8400 (Tue-Sat from 12:00PM ET - 6:00PM ET). The Paramount Center Box Office (559 Washington Street, Boston) is open for walk-up service Thu-Sat from Noon - 6:00 PM ET.

Tickets start at $25. Groups of 10+ attending a performance save up to 30%.

Thanks to generous support from Rockland Trust, a limited number of $10 Mobile Rush tickets will be available at 10:00 AM ET each performance day on a first-come, first-served basis, exclusively through the TodayTix mobile app. For more information, please click on “General Public’' when you visit Arts Emerson’s Offers web page.


October 05 – 16, 2022


Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre

219 Tremont Street

Boston, MA 02116

Performance Schedule:

Wednesday, October 05, 2022 7:30PM ET Press Performance

Thursday, October 06, 2022 7:30PM ET

Friday, October 07, 2022 8:00PM ET

Saturday, October 08, 2022 2:00PM ET

Saturday, October 08, 2022 8:00PM ET

Sunday, October 09, 2022 2:00PM ET

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 7:30PM ET

Thursday, October 13, 2022 7:30PM ET

Friday, October 14, 2022 8:00PM ET

Saturday, October 15, 2022 2:00PM ET

Saturday, October 15, 2022 8:00PM ET

Sunday, October 16, 2022 2:00PM ET

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