TPS, DTE and SistaStyle Productions Present TPS TALKS

In addition, TPS Scripts offers over 40 scripts with diverse casts available for production in theaters and college/universities. 

By: Apr. 05, 2021

TPS, DTE and SistaStyle Productions Present TPS TALKS

TPS Talks are a new initiative of TPS, DTE and SistaStyle Productions that provide real-world stories and insights from working theatre professionals to college/university classrooms, corporate events, group organizations, and more.

TPS Theatre Artists Mary McCallum, Kenley Smith, Shawn Whitsell and others - in virtual and/or live format - share their triumphs and challenges when writing, directing, producing, touring, and acting in theatre productions (often all at the same time) and will answer practical questions relevant to future theatre artists and others curious about theatre-making via our TPS Page to Stage Talks, TPS Playwright Process Talks (with access to virtual readings of accompanying plays), and TPS Special Topics Talks.

Some talk topics include:

  • So You Think You Want to Run Your Own Theatre Company?
  • Writing DON'T LOOK BLACK (w/ virtual reading included)
  • Activism Through Theatre: From Prison to Stage
  • Can You Write my Life Story? (I Actually Said Yes!)
  • Contested! What I Have Learned from Reading and Judging 300+ New Plays
  • and many more...

To learn more about these talks, visit:

TPS also provides bookings of virtual readings and live full productions (when safe to do so) of plays from Destiny Theatre Experience, SistaStyle Productions and TPS for College/Universities, Corporate Events, Family Reunions, Social, Sororal and Fraternal Organizations and more. To learn more about booking these full productions visit:

In addition, TPS Scripts offers over 40 scripts with diverse casts available for production in theaters and college/universities. To read more about these unique, critically acclaimed and/or award-winning scripts visit:

TPS will kick off this program by offering three free virtual TPS talks with accompanying readings/film to the general public including: TPS Special Topics Talk - Stage to Screen with Mary McCallum (with screening of the movie SINGLEVILLE), TPS Playwright Process Talk - FAN ME WITH A BRICK with Kenley Smith and Yalewa Sparrowhawk (with virtual reading of FAN ME WITH A BRICK, and TPS Special Topic Talk - 7 Plays in 7 Days with Shawn Whitsell (with virtual reading of BEYOND LOOSE TIES).

Details about these three virtual offerings follow:

TPS Special Topic Talk

7 Plays in 7 Days with Shawn Whitsell (with virtual Reading of Beyond Loose Ties)

Friday, April 30, 2021

Free Streaming Tickets (Donations Appreciated) with RSVP at:

7:00 p.m. CST - TPS Special Topic Talk

7:30 p.m. CST - Virtual Reading of Play, Q&A to follow

Shawn Whitsell discusses his experience of creating and producing a festival of seven of his original plays performed in seven days.

Beyond Loose ties is one of the plays performed in the 7 Plays in 7 Days Festival and has had several productions in and outside of Nashville. A production of the play was also performed at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison. A son returns home from prison to live with his estranged father and his new family.

Shawn Whitsell is a father, activist, poet and teaching artist. He is also an actor, playwright, director, producer and founder of the Destiny Theatre Experience. His one-man show 23/1 was named "Best Blend of Theater and Activism" by the Nashville Scene, for its message about solitary confinement and mass incarceration. When he isn't onstage, he visits schools and community spaces, teaching spoken word for Southern Word and drama for a number of arts institutions. He also serves as a volunteer for the School for Alternative Learning & Transformation (SALT) at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Shawn was a 2020 Nashville New Leaders Council fellow and is currently a member of the NLC board. He also serves on the boards of Street Theatre Company and Rooftop Nashville. He is a member of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board and the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Task Force for Nashville Organized For Action and Hope (NOAH).

TPS Special Topics Talk

Stage to Screen with Mary McCallum (with screening of the movie SINGLEVILLE)

Friday, May 7, 2021

Free Streaming Tickets (Donations Appreciated) with RSVP at:

7:00 p.m. CST - TPS Special Topics Talk

7:30 p.m. CST - Film Screening, Q&A to follow

TPS Special Topics Talk - Stage to Screen - Mary McCallum will discuss her process of adapting her award-winning plays into award-winning screenplays, including THE 70% CLUB, SINGLEVILLE, SIX TRIPLE EIGHT, BLACK GIRL LOST, CHASING JEREMY and more!

Singledom sucks for three feisty ladies with stories to tell in this raucously funny mockumentary that boasts an all-female cast. Three bachelorette pals beat a clutch of contenders to become subjects of a low-budget documentary on single life. Parody is the name of the game as filmmakers Edwards and McCallum conjure up a host of goofy male stereotypes in flashbacks, pickup scenarios, and TV show satires, with the three women gleefully trading off the male impersonations.

Written by Mary McCallum Directed by Meleisha Edwards and Mary McCallum. Et Al Films. Starring: Addy Biggers, Molly Breen, Mary McCallum, Candace-Omnira, Tamiko Robinson-Steele. Film Festivals: Black Harvest Film Festival, Black Laurel Film Festival, Twin Cities Film Festival, African Diaspora Film Festival, Festival International du Film PanAfricain de Cannes, Best Narrative Feature and the Audience Choice Awards - International Black Film Festival. and more. SINGLEVILLE was also a recipient of the Nashville Women in Film and Television Finishing Fund Grant.

Mary McCallum founded SistaStyle Productions in 2001 and serves as both Artistic Director and Executive Producer. She received her B.S. and M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Her theatre acting credits include THE MOUNTAINTOP, FLY, GIRL!, THE FACE OF EMMETT TILL, NEVER BEEN HOME, WAITIN' 2 END HELL, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, THE STORY, LYSISTRATA, THE DESIRE, PRETTY FIRE, LONG TIME SINCE YESTERDAY, LOUIE AND OPHELIA, HUNGER IN PARADISE, DANCE ON WIDOW'S ROW and CRY IT OUT. She has also appeared in several films & T.V. One's Fatal Attraction. Writing highlights: Her play SINGLEVILLE was a winner of the D.C. Black Theatre Festival One Act Battle and was a mainstage selection for the National Black Theatre Festival. Her play SIX TRIPLE EIGHT took top prize at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival and Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. The movie version of SingleVille (writer, co-director, actress) won several awards in 2018 including Best Feature at the Twin Cities Black Film festival and the International Black Film Festival. CHASING JEREMY was a screenplay winner at the British Urban Film Festival and a finalist at the Urban World Film Festival. In 2019, she was a winner of the "Women Who Rock Nashville" award for the arts. In 2020, she was selected as librettist for Nashville Opera's first mainstage commission ONE VOTE WON.

TPS Playwright Process Talk


With Kenley Smith and Yalewa Sparrowhawk (with virtual reading of FAN ME WITH A BRICK)

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Free Streaming Tickets (Donations Appreciated) with RSVP at:

7:00 p.m. - TPS Playwright Process Talk

7:30 p.m. - Virtual Reading of Play, Q&A to follow

Kenley Smith and Yalewa Sparrowhawk discuss the process of turning her life story into the generational drama FAN ME WITH A BRICK.

When Victoria sets out to learn more of her family's history, she opens a portal to a past full of loss, pain and indomitable perseverance. Her mother reluctantly joins her, and the two women uncover old wounds - a scandalous affair in segregated Virginia, a stolen child, a lost parent, a horrific accident - that linger unhealed in the present. The play is based on actual events. Original research by Yalewa Sparrowhawk.

Kenley Smith is the co-founder and director of TPS. He founded Studio Roanoke, a not-for-profit Virginia theatre that specialized in the development and production of new works from 2009 to 2012. He also was an Ingram playwright-in-residence at Nashville Repertory Theatre for the 2011-12 season and served as artistic associate for The Writing Room at Nashville Rep from 2015-2017. His full-length play, AKUMA SHIN was a MainStage selection of the 2015 Great Plains Theatre Conference and premiered last spring at Sacred Fools Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

EMPIRES OF THE ETERNAL VOID developed through the Nashville Rep's Ingram New Works Lab, was a MainStage Selection at the 2013 GPTC. DEVIL SEDAN was featured in 2008 at GPTC and has been produced by Baby D Productions in Omaha and by Studio Roanoke, as well as a professional production in 2013 at Playhouse Nashville. DEVIL SEDAN won first place at the Barter Theatre's 2008 Festival of Appalachian Plays and Playwrights and took top honors in the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Joe McCabe Memorial Playwriting Competition in 2009. SHADE OF THE TREES, a 2010 Barter finalist, went up at Studio Roanoke in August, 2009, and his "Famous Bobby Pence" trilogy - consisting of DEVIL SEDAN, TWELVE STATIONS OF THE CROSS and THE BRAND New Testament - was produced there in 2010-11.

MONKEY WRENCH was produced at Studio Roanoke in April, 2012. Kenley earned an M.F.A. in Playwriting and an M.A. in English and Creative Writing, both from Hollins University. He has taught playwriting at Randolph College, the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, and the Fall Creative Writing Conference at Middle Tennessee State University.

Visit for more information.


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