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A Must See

The New Black Fest: Five Black Women Playwrights For UN-TAMED: HAIR BODY ATTITUDE

If you’re anything like me, you read the title of these short plays and uttered a celebratory “YASSS!” This fall, get ready to do just that -and more- when The New Black Fest (with guest curator Dominique Morisseau) commissions five black women playwrights to write short plays entitled UN-TAMED: HAIR BODY ATTITUDE – Short Plays by Black Women. The playwrights are Cori Thomas, Nikkole Salter, Chisa Hutchinson, Lenelle Moise and Jocelyn Bioh.nbf

The aim of UN-TAMED is to participate and dig deeper into the national conversation around Black womanhood and social perceptions of Black femininity while providing black women with a creative platform to personalize these issues.

Nikkole SalterNikkole Salter: An Obie Award-winning actress and writer for the Pulitzer Prize nominated play, In The Continuum. She was most recently seen performing the role of ‘Cookie’ in the West Coast Premiere of Tarell McCraney‘s new play Head of Passes at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. As a dramatist, Salter has written 6 full-length plays, been commissioned for full-length work by six institutions, been produced in five countries on three continents, and been published in twelve international publications. Her plays include Lines in the DustCarnavalRepairing a Nation and the co-authored Freedom Rider. Salter is a 2014 MAP Fund Grant recipient, a Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist, and a two time Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship nominee. She is currently working on commissions from Woolly Mammoth, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was selected to write the screen adaptation of Claude Brown‘s New York Times Bestselling novel, Manchild in the Promised Land. She also serves as Executive Director of THE CONTINUUM PROJECT, INC., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that creates innovative artistic programming for community empowerment and enrichment. Salter is an active member of the Actors Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA, the Dramatists Guild, and sits on the board of the Theatre Communications Group.  She received her BFA in theatre from Howard University and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program.

Chisa HutchinsonChisa Hutchinson: Earned a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU.  She’s been writing and performing with the New York NeoFuturists and is a Staff Writer for Blue Man Group. Hutchinson tends to write plays about underrepresented folks that require a minimum of five actors. Her plays include Dirt Rich, She Like Girls, This is Not The Play, Sex on Sunday, Tunde’s Trumpet, The Subject, Mama’s Gonna Buy You, Somebody’s Daughter, Alondra was Here and Dead & Breathing. Hutchinson has presented at various venues such as Lark Play Development Center, City Parks’ Summerstage, Working Man’s Clothes, the New York NeoFuturists, Partial Comfort, Mad Dog Productions, Atlantic Theater Company, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and many more. She has won a GLAAD Award, the John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting, a Lilly Award, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, the Paul Green Award, a Helen Merrill Award, the Lanford Wilson Award, and has been a finalist for the highly coveted PoNY Fellowship.

Photo by Christine Jean ChambersCori Thomas: Thomas’ plays include: When January Feels Like SummerPa’s HatLiberian Legacy, My Secret Language of Wishes, and His Daddy. Her plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Theatre Lab, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Co., Page 73, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Playwrights Horizon, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Going To The River, Pillsbury House Theatre, and many more. She has received the Edgerton New Play Award from Sundance Theatre Lab, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Award for Best New Play (When January Feels Like Summer). Thomas is a co- founder of The Pa’s Hat Foundation, Inc., an organization focused on helping former child soldiers of Liberia heal after long-standing civil war through a focus on arts education and literacy.

lenelleLenelle Moïse: Author of Haiti Glass (City Lights/ Sister Spit), an internationally touring performer, and a Huntington Theater Company Playwriting Fellow. Her two-act comedy Merit won the 2012 Southern Rep Ruby Prize. She also wrote, composed, and co-starred in the critically acclaimed drama Expatriate, which launched Off Broadway at the Culture Project.



jocelyn biohJocelyn Bioh: Proud native New Yorker. As a playwright she’s credited with African Americans (Southern Rep Ruby Prize Finalist 2011), Nollywood Dreams, Four, and the libretto for The Ladykiller’s Love Story currently in development with Hi-Arts NYC. She graduated with a B.A in English/Theatre from Ohio State University and an M.F.A in Theatre – Playwriting from Columbia University. Acting credits include Broadway: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Off Broadway: An Octoroon, Seed, and Neighbors. Regional: BootyCandy, Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet. TV: “Louie” (FX,) “One Life to Live” (ABC), CoverGirl Spokesmodel (National Commercial/Print Ads).

The New Black Fest previously commissioned Facing Our Truth: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege and HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments and prides itself on being a movement that “is a gathering of artists, thinkers, activists and audiences who are dedicated to stretching, interrogating and uplifting the Black aesthetic.”

This is most certainly a great step in that direction. In my mind it’s going to be a mixture of concepts presented by Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, and beauty shop chair talk all brought to life by these five talented Black female playwrights. It’s a production I don’t want to miss, and neither do you.

Un-Tamed: Hair, Body Attitude will play at The Martin Segal Theatre at CUNY Graduate Center in October 2015.


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