Submission Period Extended: The 2nd Annual Black Motherhood And Parenting New Play Festival

Submissions open via Submittable through March 15, 2022 at 11:59pm EST.

By: Mar. 02, 2022
Submission Period Extended: The 2nd Annual Black Motherhood And Parenting New Play Festival

Parent Artist Advocacy League and Blackboard Plays announce the extension of their open call for submissions to The 2nd Annual Black Motherhood* and Parenting New Play Festival.

Playwrights who identify as Black Parents or Caregivers are invited to submit up to 10 pages of work that they would develop into a One Act that is 30-45 minutes in length. Submissions opened January 1st and will now close March 15, 2022 at 11:59pm via Blackboard's Submittable: bit.ly/bmpfest22submit .

Hana Sharif of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis was the first theatre to say yes to this year's partnership. "The BMP Fest is critically amplifying the important voices of Black folks at the intersection of artistry and parenthood. This celebration and illumination of parenthood stands in groundbreaking contrast to an industry with a history of making it invisible. I could not be more excited to experience the art and meet the artists featured in the 2022 Festival!" All 2022 partner theatres will be announced at a later date.

The submission process is open to all Black playwrights with families throughout the African Diaspora. In its inaugural year, all finalists were Black mothers, but the the festival was and remains open to Black plays and playwrights that tell the stories of Black families, which includes mothers, fathers, non-binary and trans parents and caregivers.

Last year's finalists included: Melda Beaty, Eureka Lewis, Julie Taiwo Oni and Cynthia G. Robinson. The four partner theatres were: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Rep, Bishop Arts Theatre Center and Detroit Public Theatre. The four partner theatres had a vested interest in supporting the new work of Black parents and were all either led by mothers, or had Black mothers in leadership. The Inaugural festival ran each week from mid May through mid-June, streaming a new finalist's play via the festival's Veeps.com page. This year, the festival will stream in a similar way during the Fall of 2022. Support the festival at bit.ly/bmpgive22

The project is Executive Produced by Blackboard founder and artistic director, PAAL Producing Director and PAAL Chief Rep of New York City, Garlia Cornelia Jones. Jones joined PAAL as Producing Director in June 2020 after producing Jenni Lamb's Mother Lode, A PAAL Mother's Day Benefit in May. 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 has worked as a Line Producer at The Public Theater since 2019 and 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. She has written extensively for The Washington Post and multiple publications on her journey through motherhood. Her organization, Blackboard Plays, has over a decade of experience in creating dedicated space for readings, workshops, and other opportunities for Black playwrights.

"Making space for Black artists has been at the core of Blackboard's work since we began in 2008. Our stories highlight the joy, pain, and the promise of a better future for Black people. We are not a monolith and at the center of Black life is the Black family, which has historically been broken apart and not allowed to survive since our African ancestors were brought here against their will. Black family stories matter and BMPFest seeks to put our stories front and center.

This year's review committee includes Directors from the Inaugural year. The call for new plays for the festival will be in four phases: first, there will be an open call for up to ten pages to be submitted via submittable on BMPFest's website. Second, the review committee will select 10 semi-finalists. Six of those semi-finalists will go on to receive Digital Readings during 2022 from Blackboard Plays. The Final four finalists will receive the playwriting awards, development time to expand their ten pages and the virtual productions in October and November of 2022.

"We cannot claim action toward anti-racism, Black artist representation, or equitable practice without commitment to funding Black artists directly from contracted contributor to individuals in leadership,," adds PAAL founder Rachel Spencer Hewitt, "By making space for leaders like Garlia already breaking ground, who have created spaces for Black playwrights for decades, PAAL fulfills its mission of being a support system for Black artists with families to have their work - and livelihoods - developed, seen, supported, and produced."

In order to accomplish this artistic and activist goal on a national scale, PAAL and Blackboard are committed to a Black Exclusive Budget (BEB) for every budget line item. This means that only Black artists and administrators will be compensated in the development and execution of the project with the exception of the honorariums given to actors in accordance to casting requirements, if necessary.

To donate to this project, visit PAAL's Fractured Atlas page. When making your donation, please specify "for The Black Motherhood & Parenting New Play Festival." Submissions opened January 1st, and close on March 15, 2022 at 11:59pm EST.

The final four plays will be selected by mid April 2022. Connect with BMPFest on their new website: www.bmpfestival.com/connect to subscribe to our mailing list and receive updates on this initiative.

The Rep is the St. Louis region's most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit www.repstl.org for more, and find The Rep on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Since 2008, Blackboard Plays has been devoted to Black Playwrights throughout the African Diaspora. Blackboard Reading Series was incubated @ Nancy Manocherian's the cell in Chelsea's Manhattan as a resident series for 10 years, before making their new physical home in The Mary Rodgers Room at The Dramatists Guild in 2018. Feature Readings and Community Nights are two ways that Blackboard supports the development of new work by Black Playwrights. Blackboard was founded by Garlia Cornelia Jones. www.blackboardplays.com

Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) is a national advocacy organization serving as a resource hub, community, and solutions generator for caregivers in the performing arts and media and the institutions who support them. PAAL created the first all-gender, all-discipline national PAAL Childcare Grants for individuals and institutions. PAAL has participated internationally in think tanks, on panels, and facilitated workshops on parenting in the arts at multiple gatherings, including the national TCG conferences, BroadwayCon, Actors Equity Association, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, and the first national conversation on caregiving in the Latinx community at the Latinx Theatre Commons Annual Convening, Miami in Motion, in 2019.

PAAL commits to anti-racist roots in structure, practice, policy, principle, and production, through Vertical 50/50, centering support on BIPOC artists, and gathering resources for active anti-racism in caregiver support. PAAL is a transgender and non-binary affirming space. All language referencing "mother," "parent," "dad," "caregiver," and their derivatives include and refer to any individual who identifies with them. www.paaltheatre.com



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