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6th Annual Fire This Time Festival Set for January 2015


Now in it's sixth season, The Fire This Time Festival will welcome seven new playwrights into the family, January 19-February 8 at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery). Aziza Barnes (me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, published by Button Poetry Press), Rod Gailes OBC (COLORS: Dream Of the MASTA), Julienne L. Hairston (Ababuo in Project Y's Racey Play Reading Festival), Daaimah Mubashshir (Video Clare with Manhattan Repertory Theatre), Azure D. Osborne-Lee (member of EMERGENYC and Rising Circle Theater Collective's INKtank), Larry Powell (Dreams of a Prophet) and James Anthony Tyler (Some Old Black Man starring Arthur French at La MaMa). These playwrights will present an evening of ten-minute plays, each inspired by one of Alex Harsley's original photographs. More of Harsley's pieces will be featured at the TFTT festival kick-off event this fall, in which he and the playwrights will be introduced to the Horse Trade Theater Group and 4th Street Arts Block community.

Alex Harsley is a world-renowned photographer and founder of Minority Photographers Inc. Harsley's work has grown in strikingly various directions over the years. Always rooted in truisms and experimentation, his photography began as a showcase for evolving social conditions around and in New York. From capturing the poverty of Far Rockaway, the first Muslim conference in New York City, Shirley Chisholm's nomination for President, snowstorms on the Lower East Side, neighborhood kids playing hopscotch in the middle of a Harlem street to the legendary Manhattan jazz scene with shots of John Coltrane and Ray Charles at the Apollo, Sarah Vaughn at Birdland, and Oscar Brown Jr., Harsley expresses visual and metaphorical composition through the use of light and a sharp sense of timing. Currently, Harsley continues collaborating with artists and photographers, expounds on the rise and fall of the photochemical process against the effects of the digital divide, and produces video documentaries and montages.

Playwright Kelley Nicole Girod founded The Fire This Time Festival in 2009 to provide rising playwrights of African and African American descent a platform to write and develop new work. The festival was conceived as an opportunity for playwrights to write and produce material that reflects diverse perspectives as 21st Century Theater artists.

The first season of TFTT brought together over thirty collaborative performers, directors, and other collaborators to create an amazing evening of short one-act plays. Presented by Horse Trade Theater Group over a five-show run in February 2010, the first season of the festival sold out every presentation. Exploring themes from euthanasia, hero-worship, intergenerational conflict, and more, the inaugural season of TFTT presented a dynamic theatrical experience.

Following the success of the first year, TFTT has continued to grow, with input from participating playwrights and other collaborators. The Festival has evolved into an annual January event, expanding upon its core short play presentations to offer panel discussions, staged readings, and other programs. With ongoing momentum, TFTT has quickly become a destination for diverse audiences, producers, and artists seeking new possibilities and opportunities in contemporary theater. The Festival has launched the careers of notable playwrights such as Katori Hall (The Mountaintop, Hurt Village), Dominique Morrisseau (Detroit '67), Marcus Gardley (The Box), Radha Blank (Seed) and Zoey Martinson (Ndebele Funeral).

The Fire This Time Festival is powered by a hard-working team of NYC theatre professionals including Founding Executive Artistic Director Kelley Girod, (Producing Director, The Billie Holiday Theatre; Watching, Poetics of the Creative Process), Producing Artistic Director Kevin R. Free, (The Fantasticks, A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People), Associate Artistic Director, Marketing and Outreach Angelica Chéri, (Slow Gin Fits, The Seeds of Abraham), Associate Producer, Outreach and Development A.J. Muhammad, (AMP at The Field, New Audience Project), Production Coordinator Keila Fontánez La Salle (#DRAFTSNYC, Get Me A Guy: a new comedy), and Production Manager James Masciovecchio, (TFANA'S King Lear, Hudson Shakespeare's Twelfth Night).

Horse Trade Theater Group is a self-sustaining theater development group; with a focus on new work that has produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater. Horse Trade's Resident Artist Program offers a home to a select group of Independent theater artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy. It is also the home of FRIGID New York - the first and only festival of its kind in New York City. In 2011 Horse Trade received the New York Innovative Theatre Ellen Stewart Stewardship Award for demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership.

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