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The Fire This Time Festival Welcomes Four Playwrights to New Works Lab

The Obie Award-winning The Fire This Time Festival welcomes four new playwrights to the third cycle of their New Works Lab, which was created to help playwrights of African and African American descent develop new full-length projects over an eight-month period, which will culminate in public readings in Spring 2018.

The Fire This Time Festival New Works Lab, co-directed by TFTT alum Cynthia Robinson (Dancing on Eggshells; Peola's Passing; When Night Falls) and A.J. Muhammad, aims to foster a nurturing, supportive and collaborative environment where playwrights can share work with their peers and receive constructive feedback during the early stages of developing a new project.

This season The Fire This Time Festival New Works Lab will welcome playwrights Tyrell Bennett (Westchester Community College; Hunter College), Maia Matsushita (NY Madness; Classical Theatre of Harlem's Playwright Playground), Shawn Nabors (Dance Dance Dance with Color Coded Productions; Resident Playwright at Liberation Theatre Company), and T.R. (Terrence) Riggins (Audelco Award winner for Otis and Zora).

Playwright Kelley Nicole Girod founded The Fire This Time Festival 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 plays. Presented by Horse Trade TheaterGroup 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 previously featured the work of notable playwrights such as Radha Blank (40 Year Old Version developed at Sundance Institute; Seed), Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; or The African Mean Girls Play at MCC Theater; Nollywood Dreams at Cherry Lane Mentor Project), Katori Hall (The Mountaintop; Hurt Village; book writer for Tina: The Musical in London), Jiréh Breon Holder (Too Heavy For Your Pocket at Alliance Theater/Roundabout Theater), Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand at NYTW; A Wonder in My Soul at Victory Gardens), Dominique Morrisseau (book writer for the musical Ain't Too Proud To Beg: The Life and Times of the Temptations at Berkeley Rep; Paradise Blue at Signature Theater; Pipeline at Lincoln Center Theater; Skeleton Crew at Atlantic Theater Company), Antoinette Nwandu (2017-2018 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; Colt Coeur 2017-2018 Commissioned Playwright; Breach at Victory Garden; Pass Over at Steppenwolf Theater), and James Anthony Tyler (Dolphins and Sharks at Labyrinth Theater/Finborough Theater in London).

Ngozi Anyanwu's play The Homecoming Queen was developed during the inaugural The Fire This Time Festival New Works Lab and is being produced by Atlantic Theater Company in January 2018. Aziza Barnes' play blks. received a developmental reading during The Fire This Time Festival and is being produced by Steppenwolf Theater. For more about the festival, visit

FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade is a theater development group with a focus on new work that produces a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater every season. FRIGID's Resident Artist Program offers a home to a select group of Independent theater artists, pooling together a great deal of talent and energy. FRIGID New York grew out of the annual FRIGID Festival, the first and only festival of its kind in New York City to offer artists 100% of their box office proceeds, and Horse Trade Theater Group, a self-sustaining theater development and management group.

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