Horse Trade Theater Group to Present 5th Annual FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL, Begin. 1/20

For the fifth year in a row Horse Trade Theater Group will present The Fire This Time Festival (TFTT), providing a platform for talented early-career playwrights of African and African-American descent to explore new voices, styles, and challenging new directions for 21st century performing arts in order to move beyond common misconceptions of what's possible in "black theater."

Playwright Kelley Nicole Girod founded TFTT 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 play's. 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, Dominique Morrisseau, Marcus Gardley, Radha Blank and Kevin R. Free.

Now in it's fifth season, TFTT welcomes six new playwrights into the family. The new playwrights will present an evening of their ten-minute plays, running throughout the entire festival. The returning playwrights from Season Four will each have the opportunity to present a reading of a new full-length play.

Season Five Playwright Biographies:
Jonathan Payne is a published playwright, who lives in Brooklyn. He recently attended the 2013 Great Plains Theatre Conference as a MainStage Playwright. He is a recipient of the Rosa Parks Award for Borne to the Ocean (2011), and the Cauble Short Play Award for Slavery (2002) from the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival. He received a BA from the GSA Conservatoire (UK) and an MFA in Playwriting from Tisch School of the Arts.

Judy Tate was born in Chicago, IL and currently lives in NYC. She's had workshops and readings at The Women's Project, the Lark theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble, EST where she is a member, Playwrights Horizons, Passage Theatre and Hartford Stage, CAP21 and the Black and Latino Playwrights conference. A professional actor for many years, Judy has worked in theaters throughout the United States and Southern Africa. As a teaching artist she works with Theatre Development Fund and Manhattan Theatre Club. She is an alumna of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts conservatory program.

Lori Elizabeth Parquet is an actor and teaching artist from New Orleans, Louisiana. She received a B.A. in Theater Arts from Cornell University. She has starred in various Off and Off-Off-Broadway productions such as Macbeth, Dog Act, Dispatches From (A)mended America, Murder in the Cathedral and Ajax in Iraq. She made her international debut performing in Pillars of Society at Teater Ibsen in Skien, Norway. When she is not acting, she brings her love of theater to the New York City Public Schools as a teaching artist with CUNY Creative Arts Team, Possible Arts, Epic Theater Ensemble, and Rising City Arts. She is extremely honored and humbled to have her first play featured in the Fire This Time Festival!

ERIKA ROSE is an actor/teaching artist now living in New York City. Originally from Washington D.C. Erika was the 2011 recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for her work in In Darfur. She just appeared in Broken Fences with Ballybeg Theatre Company in NY. Regionally she has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, and The African Continuum Theatre.

Angelica Chéri is an NYC-based playwright and performer, and the Associate Artistic Director of The Fire This Time Festival. She is currently a Dean's Fellow of the NYU Tisch Musical Theater Writing Program, and holds a BA in Theater from UCLA and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. Her Columbia thesis play Ruby Place Nest on the Ground was recently work shopped at the Pershing Square Signature Center and at the D.C. Black Theater Festival. Now renamed The Seeds of Abraham, the play will appear at the Billie Holiday Theatre in the spring of 2014. She was mentored on the piece by playwright Lynn Nottage.

Josh Wilder is a proud Philadelphia native and recent grad of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. He is an actor, playwright, teaching artist and the inaugural national playwright of the 2013-14 Jerome Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwright's Center. His solo performances, Perfection and Township Safari, have premiered in Los Angeles and South Africa.

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.

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