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A Must See

Sneak Peek (And Then Some) of The Fire This Time Festival 2016

The Fire This Time Festival presented by Horse Trade Theater Group was founded in 2009 by playwright Kelley Nicole Girod. According to the website, it was Girod’s goal to:

Provide rising playwrights of African and African American descent a platform to write and develop new work. The festival was conceived as an opportunity for playwrights to write and produce material that reflects diverse perspectives as 21st century theater artists. The first season of the festival brought together over thirty collaborative performers, directors, and other collaborators to create an amazing evening of short one-act plays.

When asked about her reasons for creating this platform Girod stated,

I started The Fire This Time because I felt that there was a standard in black theatre that myself and many others in the community did not adhere to, meaning that there seems to be a model of what constitutes a “Black” play based on theme, language, structure, content etc. We were not writing these plays and felt that there was a big part of the Black experience that was getting overlooked by the theatre industry. The Fire This Time seeks to support all the voices and stories that illuminate the Black experience. At the end of the day, if a play is written by a Black person, even if it’s a story about two white people in love, it is still a Black expression.

Since its inception, the Festival has remained committed to exploring new voices and styles and challenging new directions. The goal remains moving beyond common ideas of what’s possible in “Black theater.”  This year, the Festival has selected seven hot new Black playwrights to push boundaries and preconceived notions with their art.

 Here’s a sneak peek of this year’s line up:

 Tanya Everett is a Boston born, Brooklyn bred storyteller. She has created original work that has been seen at Cherry Lane, Cherry Pit, HERE Arts Center, and Theaterlab, among others. Her favorite theater collaborations include Classical Theater of Harlem, NY Madness, Queens Theater and Naked Expedition Project. The Breast Cancer short she produced and stars in, “Without Scars,” will screen this summer and is on the festival circuit. She is also passionate about working with the youth, networking, healing and empowerment.


Keelay Gipson  is a multi­-disciplinary artist working as an actor, filmmaker, director and award-­winning playwright. His work as a playwright has been seen in spaces nationwide. He helped adapt the New York Times bestselling novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake into a  production that was subsequently performed in NYC and Chicago. He has been featured in Next Magazine, Time Out New York and for his play N/F. His play, The Lost, won 4 awards as part of the 2014 Planet Connections Theater Festivity and was produced at SCENE in Summer 2015.

Jireh Breon Holder‘s sharp, gritty, and political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors that address the poetry of everyday life in America. From 2012­-13, he served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Alliance Theatre. His plays have received readings and productions at the Alliance Theatre, Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, and Theater Emory. Since graduating Morehouse College, he has been completing a MFA in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.

Roger Q. Mason is a playwright whose work mines the intersection of history, memory, and identity. Mason’s works have been seen at venues throughout the country. He was a finalist of the inaugural Activate: Midwest New Play Festival and the winner of an Encore Producer’s Award at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Mason holds a BA in English and Theatre from Princeton University and an MA in English from Middlebury College. He is currently attending Northwestern’s MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage.

Stacey Rose  a.k.a. “Rosie”  is a 2015­-16 Dramatists Guild Fellow. In 2015, Stacey earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was honored with the NYU Grey Gallery Prize for her short play My Pet, the 2015 Outstanding Writing for Stage playwriting award, was a 2014­-15 Tisch Future Screenwriter Fellow, and was a 2015 Fusion Film Festival finalist for her television pilot “Up­ And ­Coming.” She is the creator of The Perceptions Project: Films about what we believe, which is currently in post production for its third film, “Fun.” Stacey strives to create work which entertains, challenges, educates and empowers both the audience and her collaborators. 


Korde Arrington Tuttle is an award ­winning playwright, visual artist, and educator hailing from Charlotte, NC. New works include: the downside of being a fish, which was presented at The New School’s AfroFuturism Conference 2015 and The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, in collaboration with THE TENTH ZINE; who is burning black churches?, which first appeared as a ten ­minute play at The 24­Hour Plays: Nationals (2015); and The Chair, The Dance. Korde is currently pursuing a MFA in Playwriting at The New School.

Nia O. Witherspoon is a multidisciplinary artist ­who creates contemporary ritual space grounded in African diaspora sensibilities. Working primarily in the media of theatre/performance, vocal and sound composition, and creative scholarship, Witherspoon’s work has been supported by several foundations and organizations. Last year, Witherspoon won Astraea’s Lesbian Writer Award, was the runner­up for the Lincoln Center Artist Education Fellowship and a finalist for the Jerome Many Voices Fellowship.

The Festival is set to run Jan 18-Feb 6, 2016. For more information, click here.

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