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Submissions Open for The Black Motherhood* and Parenting New Play Festival


Submissions are open through November 9, 2020 at 11:59pm.

Submissions Open for The Black Motherhood* and Parenting New Play Festival

Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) and Blackboard Plays have announced an open call for submissions to The 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. Submissions Open now through November 9th, 2020 at 11:59pm via Blackboard's Submittable The Dramatists Guild of America is partnering with PAAL and Blackboard Plays on this project. The Final Spring digital workshops will be presented in a partnership between PAAL and Blackboard Plays. *PAAL is a transgender and non-binary affirming space. "Mother" and "Motherhood" and their derivatives are used as inclusive terms for anyone who identifies with them.

The submission process will be open to all Black playwrights around the country. The majority of awards will go to plays that engage with the theme of Black motherhood. Other festival awards will be for plays that explore transgender, non-binary, and other gender-specific experiences of parenting. There will also be an award for a submission that examines Black fatherhood. The project will be curated by Blackboard founder and artistic director, PAAL Producing Director and PAAL Chief Rep of New York City, Garlia Cornelia Jones. Jones/Garlia joined PAAL as Producing Director in June after producing Jenni Lamb's Mother Lode, A PAAL Mother's Day Benefit in May. She is also 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. She is also a Line Producer at The Public Theater and one of the 6 producer's of Harlem9, the Black producing collective responsible for the OBIE award winning, "48Hours in...™Harlem" and other sister festivals. Garlia 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.

"Black parenthood is often overlooked in our national and artistic conversations and represented without the nuance that white parents and parenting stories often include," Garlia adds, "My journey as a parent has been alongside the growth of my artistic career. Blackboard was founded years before I had children, but remained part of my life, exposing me to the inequities in our field towards parents, BIPOC artists and women. PAAL's entrance into my life has enabled me to find the balance between advocating for others so they are supported in ways I was not and shedding light on the truths in our industry."

The festival's review committee will be composed of exclusively Black artists, grouped as a combination of Blackboard members and PAAL representatives. The call for new plays and festival will be in four phases: first, there will be an open call around the country for up to ten pages to be submitted via submittable on Blackboard's site; second, the review committee will select four finalists to receive playwriting awards and share their submitted 10 pages in brief readings as part of the PAAL Summit closing session in November of 2020; third, the four finalists will be invited to expand the ten pages into one-acts that PAAL and Blackboard will produce as digital productions and stream online for viewing in the spring of 2021 for the fourth and final phase.

"Dismantling systemic racism through art requires the creation of platforms and opportunities to tell stories that illuminate the reality, obstacles, pain, joy, celebration, humor, revelation, and even mundane aspects of the human experience lived by Black and Indigenous people and People of Color. For Black mothers, specifically, obstacles include increased post-birth mortality rates. Black mothers' victories include being some of history's greatest leaders and game changers, like congresswoman Yvonne Braithwaite Burke - the first Black woman elected to the California assembly, and first woman to serve in Congress while expecting a child - and Maya Angelou, beloved poet and activist. However," adds PAAL founder Rachel Spencer Hewitt, "It's not enough to know Black parenting and caregiving only through the lens of the well-known. Art must make seen the experiences of the everyday so that our engagement in society, education, and empathy are rooted in a deep understanding of storytelling that empowers the community it illuminates. Garlia is a visionary in regard to bringing life and opportunity to new plays and has long shaped conversations on motherhood and parenting. This new play festival promises to highlight her work in a powerful way and the work of artists we do not know yet but need to."

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 will open on October 13, and close on November 9, 2020.The final four plays will be selected by November 16, 2020.

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