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Second Annual Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival Set For October

The festival runs virtually from October 20 - November 14, 2022.

Second Annual Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival Set For October

Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) and Blackboard Plays have announced the festival programming for the nationally recognized 2nd Annual Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival, taking place virtually from October 20 - November 14, 2022.

This new and groundbreaking digital play festival features four plays written by Black parent and/or caregiver playwrights, four nationally renowned partner theatres, and engages over 50 artists from around the country. Returning for a second year of support, partner theatres Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Detroit Public Theatre are joined by this year's newcomers National Black Theatre, each to support a specific playwright and play. This year's festival sponsors include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Dramatists Guild Foundation, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Public Theater, and GhostLight Productions Inc. Festival passes are available now for $50 at bit.ly/bmpfest22pass.

"Even as our world moves toward a space deemed 'post-pandemic,' hybrid models remain imperative for access, expansion, exposure and innovation. These are the elements we proudly fight to make available to the Black artists and contributors of this festival", says Garlia Cornelia Jones, Festival Co-Creator and Executive Producer, who also serves as The Public Theater's first Director of Innovation and New Media. "The commitment exhibited by the major institutions who make up our festival partner theatres and sponsors testifies to the national relevance of this festival and immediate impact of supporting the work of Black artists with families at all ages and stages of their development."

Jones joined PAAL as Producing Director in June 2020. She was PAAL's first recipient of the PAAL Mother Artist of Color National Childcare Grant and the PAAL Chief Rep of the New York City chapter. Jones is one of the 6 producers of Harlem9, the Black producing collective responsible for the OBIE award winning, "48Hours in...Harlem" and other sister festivals. She is also the Creative Producer for the Obsidian Theatre Festival in her hometown of Detroit, MI, produced by Ghostlight Productions She has written extensively for The Washington Post and multiple publications on her journey through motherhood.

Returning partner Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, states, "I could not be more thrilled to support BMPFest for a second year. I think it's critical to support Black artists who choose to parent the next generation. And it is important to me that we produce plays that center Black mothers so that we see ourselves-our sacrifices, our joys, our pain and our purpose-reflected on the stage in our full dynamic complexity. I commend BMPFest for its focus on Black parent playwrights and for furthering this meaningful and necessary work."

Jamil Jude, director of festival finalist SAHM by Sonhara Eastman, identifies the impact of Black parents working together with families present, "Becoming a parent has been a beautiful ride but having the chance to bring my family around my work, work with a festival along with other Black parents who are loving on their children while making outstanding work has been the greatest gift."

In keeping with PAAL policies and with support provided by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, childcare/caregiver stipends and caregiver supportive practices are provided for all festival participants and contributors. "Storytelling on the stage presents the joy, pain, triumph, struggle and celebration of individual experiences in a way no other art form exactly can. We are honored to work with Blackboard Plays and PAAL on the Black Motherhood & Parenting New Play Festival and continue to support their art as we move forward," said Rachel Routh, Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild Foundation.

After a ten-week call for new plays by playwrights who identify as Black Parents or Caregivers, the BMPFest Review committee, which featured Directors from the 1st Annual Festival, Mary E. Hodges (Lehman Trilogy, 2nd Stage's Patience), Dawn Monique Williams and Ellen Valencia, selected the 10 semi-finalists in April 2022. By April 2022, the Final 4 playwrights were selected with the support of Sandra Daley-Sharif, who served on the festival's Finalist Review Committee.

10 plays were selected as semi-finalists. The 4 finalists selected from that group of 10 to be virtually produced as part of this year's festival are: Sonhara Eastman with, "Sahm", Keenya Jackson with "Botanicals or Giving it to God", Naomi Lorrain (Orange is the New Black, What To Send Up When It Goes Down) with "Theresa", and Nicole Santora with "The Last Fresh Start".


THE 2ND ANNUAL BLACK MOTHERHOOD AND PARENTING NEW PLAY FESTIVAL LINE-UP:

The final four plays stream for 96 hours each week on Thursdays, beginning Thursday, October 20, 2022, with a new play launching each week until the final week's launch on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

"SAHM" by Sonhara Eastman, Directed by Jamil Jude (Artistic Director, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company; Director, Choir Boy - 5th Avenue)


In "SAHM", Sonhara Eastman reveals the isolation that most stay-at-home moms feel, coupled with the desire to find, and connect with other moms that look like them. Jamil Jude directs this new digital play, which runs Thursday, October 20 at 7pm EST / 6pm CST / 4pm PST - Monday, October 24, 2022 at 7pm EST / 6pm CST / 4pm PST

"Theresa" by Naomi Lorrain, Directed by Khanisha Foster

In "Theresa", Nia's parents disagree with how she and her new partner, Theresa, want to raise Nia's five year old son. Naomi Lorrain has written a satirical exploration of what happens when generational notions of childrearing clash. Khanisha Foster directs this new digital play, which runs Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST - Monday, October 31, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST

"The Last Fresh Start" by Nicole Santora , Directed by Adena Varner

In "The Last Fresh Start", Nicole Santora tells the story of Gwendolyn, a mother who abandons her daughter to pursue her artistic dreams overseas and struggles as an undocumented nanny. Adena Varner directs this new digital play, which runs Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST - Monday, November 7, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST.

"Botanicals or Giving it to God" by Keenya Jackson , Directed by Ny'Ea Reynolds

In "Botanicals or Giving it to God", Keenya Jackson explores how difficult it is for us to heal and forgive, when Joe, an elderly man who prefers to not interact with neighbors, is left to deal with the outcome of the way that he handles conflict. Ny'Ea Reynolds directs this new play which runs Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST - Monday, November 14, 2022 at 7pm EST/ 6pm CST / 4pm PST

The #BMPFest Production Team was led by Artistic Producer and General Manager, Amber D. Gray, with Ghostlight Productions leading the remote capture of the festival. Each of the 4 plays were produced remotely and will take place on the festival website: www.bmpfestival.com

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