Columnists

Full production grants available for Black playwrights

Lack of financial resources is often the most daunting obstacle for new writers trying to bring fresh, innovative story ideas from the pages of their script to the stage.

For a few aspiring writers, OnyxFest 2022 – the first and only Indiana theater festival exclusively for African American playwrights – will cover all expenses required to bring scripts to life. Scripts will be accepted for consideration from December 15th up to midnight Tuesday, March 15th.

This competition is designed to showcase the broad spectrum of stories that depict Black life and culture. OnyxFest Director Vernon A. Williams said, “This is an event that empowers Black artists to create their own narrative, to tell their own stories.”

Playwrights will receive royalties along with stipends to pay actors, directors, lighting assistants and sound technicians. The grant will include funds for set design, props, costume and makeup as well as the complete cost of theater rental for both rehearsal and performances.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for serious new playwrights with talent but no resources,” Williams said, adding that OnyxFest 2022 will also provide playwrights script development, marketing and advertising for productions along with video recordings and internet streaming of plays.

Scripts should be submitted to https://iu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eePgEsfecadmvjw. Entries will then be submitted to a jury of theater professionals who will read each and determine five winners. Winners will be notified Friday, April 15, 2022.

Entries must be original one-act plays – between 45 minutes and an hour in length. There may be no more than six characters per cast. Subject matter is unrestricted. Williams recommends that writers avoid stereotypes, degrading or disrespectful portrayals of Black life and culture, and gratuitous violence or sexual content.

OnyxFest 2022 is sponsored by the Africana Repertory Theater of IUPUI (ARTI), a program of study offered by the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, School of Education and Office of Community Engagement using theater to document and artistically reflect the history, cultural life, and politics of people of the Africana Diaspora.

Watch all five productions of last year’s OnyxFest at onyxfest.com. For more Information on this year’s festival, text or call 317.457.8779 or email onyxfestindy@gmail.com.