News: The Fire This Time Festival to Release Anthology with Methuen Drama

 

On February 10, 2022 New York City’s Obie Award-winning The Fire This Time Festival will release an anthology entitled 25 Plays from The Fire This Time Festival: A Decade of Recognition, Resistance, Resilience, Rebirth and Black Theatre. The book, published by Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, contains 25 10-minute plays originally produced by the eponymous festival, which has become the destination for emerging and early career playwrights from the African diaspora.

While the past decade proved to be some of the most tumultuous times in modern US history, the resilience and will of the Black community has continually pushed forward by opening up dialogues and sustaining advocacy. Nowhere has this been more apparent than at the Obie Award-winning The Fire This Time Festival in New York City. From inequality in education and healthcare, skewed and negative images of Black people in mainstream media, racism in policing, widespread gentrification and its effects on multi-generational Black neighborhoods, and the growth of Black love, The Fire This Time Festival was there and has borne witness. This page in their Black history is now documented in the pages of this anthology. Together, these pieces bookend the Black experience in the U.S. from 2009 to the present day: from the hope for further progress and equity under the Obama administration to the existential threat faced by Black people under the Trump presidency.

The anthology is edited and curated by Kelley Nicole Girod, who, while serving as the Executive Director of The Fire This Time, has also held the positions of Producing Director at the historic Black theater, The Billie Holiday, in Brooklyn, NY, as well as Programming Associate at New York City's The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. She has recently been named Director of New Works at the legendary Apollo Theater and is also an award winning playwright whose work has been featured in NYC.  

Girod has divided the anthology's plays into seven thematic sections concerning multi-faceted aspects of the Black experience, such as beauty standards and self-acceptance in Black America and addressing gentrification in historically Black neighborhoods. Featuring work by Katori Hall, Derek Lee McPhatter, Antoinette Nwandu, Roger Q. Mason, Dominique Morisseau, Fransica Da Silviera, Tracey Conyer Lee, C.A Johnson, William Watkins, Jordan E. Cooper, Natya Bean, Dennis A. Allen, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, Bernard Tarver, Cyrus Aaron, Camille Darby, Marcus Gardley, Charly Evon Simpson, Kendra Augustin, Samantha Godfrey, Jonathan Payne, Tyler English-Beckwith, Fredrica Baily, Angelica Cheri, and Josh Wilder, the short plays reflect an exciting, eclectic mix of 21st century theatre and are perfect for study, performance, and reflection.

The Fire This Time Festival was founded in 2009 by Girod to provide a platform for playwrights of African and African-American descent to write and produce evocative material for diverse audiences. Since the debut of the first 10-minute play program in 2010, presented in collaboration with FRIGID New York, The Fire This Time Festival has produced and developed the work of more than 80 playwrights including Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Antoinette Nwandu, Jocelyn Bioh, Korde Arrington Tuttle, Stacey Rose, Aziza Barnes, C.A. Johnson, Kevin R. Free, Charly Evon Simpson, Angelica Cheri, James Anthony Tyler, Jordan Cooper and Nathan Yungerberg. The Fire This Time Festival recently collaborated with Center Theatre Group and Watts Village Theater Company to launch the initiative “It’s Not A Moment, But A Movement” to amplify Black artists through three virtual events which paired playwrights, visual artists and musicians during 2021. 

FRIGID New York will present the 13th Annual The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery), January 17-February 6, 2022. Performances will also be available to livestream from home. The festival will feature World Premiere 10-minute plays by Agyeiwaa Asante, Rachel Herron, Fedna Jacquet, Marcus Scott, Phillip Christian Smith and Lisa Rosetta Strum. All six 10-minute plays will be directed by Zhailon Levingston (Chicken and Biscuits on Broadway; Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway).

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