Inspirational rhythms

I love community nights! I love them for their unexpectedness! Monday, June 11th brought 4 new playwrights who presented their work.

The vibe was perfect, and as they entered the front door of the cell on 23rd -conversations started naturally.

There is something so special about being in a room with new playwrights – new voices… Literally waiting to be heard!

Jonathan (@jonjarjo) was from Detroit – We had exchanged emails a few weeks ago when he expressed interest in finding a community of artists where he could catch other artists. This was his first time presenting his work and presenting work that he had written while on this two week trip out east. It was a modern day “Crowns”. He literally had been asking people about their hat stories!

Danielle (@danielleeliska) (also from Detroit) walked in and they had a mutual connection… In fact, she is how he found the series! Her piece felt mystical like a novel, rather than a play where the deep south and its customs

James, one of Danielle’s classmates from NYU brought pages from his full length, “Some Old Black Man”

In addition, one of the writers already on the schedule for 2012, Nathan Yungerberg, brought pages from the play we ended up choosing that will be presented in September.

There was a rhythmic feel to the night that was really exciting!

Almeria and I were very pleased with the work and the writers. The spirit was right that night and we hope everyone continues to keep in touch and encourage future work! Most importantly, we hope that those who attended come back to blackboard for the features all year long!

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About blackboardplays

Familiar with the collectives for poets and other Black writers that had been created over the years and slightly envious of that sense of community, I became curious about a similar place for playwrights. I wanted to see Black playwrights, actors and directors excited over each others work and supporting each other. I was longing for a “home” as a Black playwright and wanted to see other Black artists in that home, not to be exclusive, but because there was a void. I was also eager to find other Black playwrights who shared a passion for the craft of storytelling. The stories of the Black community are diverse and are often hidden behind the blockbuster stereotyped versions. The non-artistic Black community, not involved in the writing of these stories, is yearning to see themselves in our stories and it is apart of my life’s work to ensure that happens. the cell is any artists’ dream: a new space that supports you as you grow, committed to new work and the art. This allows the writer to focus on the craft - to focus on their story. Nancy Manocherian and Kira Simring welcomed this idea with open arms and instantly became apart of what we later called “Blackboard Reading Series”. Every reading will conclude a twenty minute talk-back with the audience. Dialogue with the community is essential to what we want to do with the series. As we grow, there may be more readings a month, play festivals and of course productions. We want to nurture and develop new black playwrights for this generation! Thank You! Garlia Cornelia Jones Founder, Blackboard Reading Series
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