It's funny. In light of recent events, I've had a bit of a secret. I've been working on something behind the scenes, actually trying to put some thing into action. It wasn't ready for public consumption just yet, but now...well, the cat's out of the bag.
I'm co-founding a new festival for black theatre. We'll be having our inaugural festival this fall. I'm pretty stoked about it.
Back in January, the Arena Stage hosted a convening on black playwriting that had an incredible line-up. I was lucky enough to attend as a blogger and had an amazing time. At the end of the convening, after two days of conversation, sharing, some arguing, a lot of commiserating, and a fair amount of raging, David Dower asked the group what the next steps were. Keith Josef Adkins said, "I want to start a new festival." And I thought, "Hell to the yes!" And ran right up to him to say I was in. By the time I got there, Jocelyn Prince from the Public was already there. We had a quick convo and promised to reconvene in the city.
Now, usually, these things peter out. People get distracted. The urge seems less urgent. This wasn't like that. It only got more and more pressing. The three of us met, discussed, shared ideas and possibilities and finally decided, we need to do some fundraising.
On Monday night, we held our first fundraiser at Lynn Nottage's home in Brooklyn. We had about 50 people there, on a sweltering night, to hear Harrison David Rivers and Katori Hall read from their work and to commune over the idea of a new festival of black plays. It was an incredible night, with a huge outpouring of support. It was humbling and thrilling all at once.
And now the work really begins. I've programmed and produced festivals before, but never built one from scratch. It's a pretty sharp learning curve. But now that the idea is out of the bag, you'll be hearing more and more as it progresses. Fun times ahead.