Uprooted by Clinnesha D. Sibley – Oct 14, 2013


Very excited about next week’s reading! Professor Sibley is traveling from Arkansas.

What happens when long-separated siblings reunite after the death of a parent? When successful film actress Venus Kettle returns to Glee, Mississippi, to her mother’s “home going,” she is greeted by her sisters with a wide range of emotions.  After airing incidents of sexual abuse in her childhood home a few months prior to their mother’s death, Venus can’t escape the rippling effects of her confession or in this case, the “leaking” of family business. In the meantime, Uprooted explores abortion in a small Mississippi town during the 1980’s by way of the play’s deceased matriarch, who is known as a pillar in the community and nursing profession. This uneasy sibling reunion and the possibility of Venus’s brother, who is incarcerated in a facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, coming home for the funeral forces the Kettle family to recall the incest issues stemming from their household. Uprooted is moving tribute to the redemptive power of family.

Clinnesha D. Sibley is a native of McComb, Mississippi and an HBCU alumna. She holds a BA from Tougaloo College and an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Arkansas, where she is currently an assistant professor of Drama. Her play, Tell Martha Not to Moan, received three out of four stars in the Denver Post after its world premiere production at the Aurora Fox Theatre. Uprooted was recently recognized as a 2013 Kentucky Women Writers Conference National Playwriting Prize Finalist play. Other awards include: the 2009 Key Woman Educator in Drama Award from the Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Holland New Voices Award, 2012 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist, 2012 Athena Project Voices of Women Artists Plays in Progress Series Winner, and an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. Publications include: It’s In My Blood: Thicker than Water (poetry) and King Me: Three One-Act Plays Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her plays have also appeared in Black Magnolias Literary Journal and Muzzle Magazine.




Creativity is conjuring, is root work, is making a way out of no way, is the practice of radical expressiveness that enlivens, incites and insists on liberation, NOW! Ebony Noelle Golden works at the intersection of art, culture and public education with individuals, communities and organizations seeking to build creative strategy, cultural performance and liberatory learning experiences for progressive social change.  Working nationally, Ebony is the Director of the cultural arts direct action group, Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC and the Artistic Director of The Body Ecology Performance Ensemble. She earned a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Texas A & M University, a M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Poetry from American University, and a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  You can find more information at www.bettysdaughterarts.com.


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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