Black Women Speak: The Playwrights

PLAYWRIGHT ARTISTS COHORT

CANDRICE JONES Steinberg awarded playwright, Candrice Jones is from Dermott, Arkansas. Candrice’s artistic mission is to write love letters for and to women of the American South. A VONA Playwriting alum and CalArts Critical Studies MFA recipient, she has been a resident fellow at Ground Floor housed by the Berkeley Rep, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and MacDowell’s Colony of the Arts. She is scheduled to be a resident playwright at Djerassi’s Colony of the Arts in the fall of 2022. Candrice has received the Many Voices (2020) and Jerome Fellowship (2021) from The Playwrights’ Center. Her play, FLEX, was developed at VONA, Ground Floor, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and was scheduled to premiere at Actors Theater of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, but was cancelled due to COVID. In the 2020-21 season, Candrice received virtual commissions from People’s Light Theater (Leaving Teaching) and Actors Theater of Louisville (Beyond the Crossroads), as well as reading opportunities from Theatrical Outfit, National New Play Network, and San Francisco Playhouse. Recently, Candrice’s full length play, A Medusa Thread, received a reading in UC Santa Barbara’s BIPOC Reading Series where it will go on to receive a preview production scheduled in spring of 2022. Currently, Candrice is excited about opportunities she has received from Virginia’s Signature Theater to collaborate with composer Nolan Williams as well as upcoming opportunities with Theater Horizons’ Black Women Speak playwriting lab, and Orchard Project’s 2021 Episodic Lab. In May 2021, she took on the role of Director of New Programs at The Arkansas Repertory Theater in Little Rock, AR where she is in the midst of creating opportunities for playwrights who focus on the American South. 

ARIDY NOX is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist with a variety of forward-thinking creative works under her/their belt including the historical reimagining of the life of Sally Hemmings Black Girl in Paris (2020), the ancestral reckoning play A Walless Church (2019), the afrofuturist ecopocalypse musical Metropolis (2019), and many others. AriDy creates out of the vehement belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. Their tales are offerings intended to function as small parts of an ancient, expansive, awe-inspiring tradition of world-shaping, created by and for black femmes. As a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU and a beneficiary of the Emerging Writer’s Group at the Public Theatre, she has been inordinately privileged to share the workings of her imagination among a vast array of inspiring and supportive artists of various radical backgrounds throughout the city. 

A’NDREA J. WILSON, Ph.D. is

a multi-medium creative writer, educator, and speaker. A’ndrea holds a B.S. in Psychology, a M.S. in Counseling Psychology; Marriage and Family Counseling, an MFA in Dramatic Writing, and a Ph.D. in Global Leadership; Educational Leadership in 2009. Her continuously growing body of work often integrates her clinical background, interest in interpersonal/intrapersonal development, and love for the African-American community with storytelling. A’ndrea’s debut full-length play, Grace Period, was nominated for the Kennedy Center’s Graduate Playwrights Workshop, as well as selected for readings at the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival and the 2017 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF). Grace Period was also honored with the award for “Best Reading” at the 2017 ABTF. She returned to the ATBF in 2018 with a production of her play Unsatisfied, Damaged, Broken. In 2018, she also became the Interim Chair of the ABTF Advisory Board, a position which she held for two years. An alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design, A’ndrea is the recipient of a 2017-2018 Alumni Atelier Award/Ambassadorship, a quarter-long writing residency, affording her the support to write a Civil Rights Era play titled Wild Widow Poker, which premiered in 2020 as a collaboration between Grand View University and Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. Her most recent work, Mahala Island, is in development and has been publicly read by the Iowa Stage Theatre Company in 2020 as a part of their Scriptease Series. In addition, her short play On Da Rooftop was selected for the 2017 Fade to Black Play Festival, her short play A Dumping in Dixie was selected for performance at the 2017 Urban Playwrights United Mini Fest, and she was commissioned to write the extended monologue, “Somebody’s Son” for the MoJo Play Festival in 2019. A’ndrea is also the author of over 21 published works and enjoys writing made-for-TV romances and feature films as a screenwriter. Much more than a writer, A’ndrea is also the Braida Endowed Chair of Creative Writing, and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Grand View University where she teaches English, Creative Writing, and Theatre courses. A’ndrea is committed to educating others on social justice and inclusion issues through her writing, teaching, and community efforts. Dr. Wilson frequently delivers keynote addresses, workshops, and seminars/webinars on race-relations, writing, and personal/professional development.   

SHAY YOUNGBLOOD is a writer, visual artist, and educator. She is the author of several novels including Black Girl in Paris, collections of short stories and numerous essays. Her published plays including Shaking the Mess Out of Misery, Talking Bones and Amazing Grace, a stage adaptation of a children’s book (all produced by Horizon), have been widely-produced, and her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. In 2021 she was appointed Commissioner to the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission and serves as a board member of Yaddo artists’ community. Her current projects include a illustrated children’s books, a super hero graphic novel collaboration, a radio play and The Architecture of Soul Sound, a multi-media performance work about architecture, memory and the environment inspired by research in Japan, China and the U.S. 


EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS COLLECTIVE

Tramaine Brathwaite is a Guyanese-American playwright and writes about topics that are honest, uncomfortable, and sometimes taboo.  She believes that life is a play waiting to happen…just write.  Some of her written plays include Unnerving Stains, Enigma, Last Train to Glen Echo, Point…Blank…Period!, and Count It All Joy. She also wrote and produced a short film entitled Unheard. Tramaine was a 2015-2016 Horizon Theatre Company Apprentice, 2016-2017 Working Title Playwrights Rhame Scholarship recipient, a 2017-2018 Atlanta Women in Theatre Mentorship recipient, and is a member of The Dramatist Guild. In 2017, Tramaine was published in The Louisville Review No. 81.  She holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Maryland College Park and a Masters in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She uses her experiences and writes pieces that speak to the realities around her. Tramaine is a Maryland native residing in Hampton, GA. 

Amina McIntyre is

a playwright from Atlanta, GA, who has had productions and readings of her plays with Working Title Playwrights at OnStage Atlanta, TipMyCup Productions at the Roy Arias Theater in New York, Wabash College, Colby College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Spalding University, Indiana Theater Association ITWorks 2008, West Side Community CME Church, Sabrina McKenzie Ministries’ EPIC Women’s Conference, Lenoir-Rhyne University and the Hickory Museum of Art. Amina was the 2011 Visiting Playwright in Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University and a finalist for the New York Theater Workshop’s Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship. Amina received a BA in Anthropology at Colby College, a MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, a MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and a MTS from Emory University. She is a member of Working Title Playwrights, an Atlanta-based play development company, and Managing Director of Karibu Performing Arts, LLC/Songs of Karibu. Most recently, Amina’s presented her play All’s Fair in Jewels and Dresses at the Fort Wayne Fringe Festival, and she was an invited playwright for the Atlanta One-Minute Play Festival. Amina is a recipient of a 2013-14 City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Individual Grant, a Playwright Apprentice in the Horizon Theatre 2014-2015 Apprenticeship Company and the 2014-2015 Atlanta Region Young Ambassador for the Dramatist’s Guild.

Chiwuzo Ife Okwumabua (Chi Ife) has over ten years of experience in arts administration and the performing arts. She has worked as a show producer, production manager, lyricist, and actress for various productions nationally and internationally. As a producer, she is passionate about presenting innovative bodies of work that empower and create social change. As a lyricist and writer, her mission is to create original work that is thought-provoking, elevates audiences to a higher state of consciousness, and motivates people to live their best life. The original work that she creates is influenced by West African and Black American culture. Ife is the creator, songwriter, and co-writer of A Song for Adaeze, an original Afro-Futurism musical production. Presentations of Adaeze have been featured at The Atlanta Black Theater Festival, Art on the Beltline, Push Through Arts Festival, and will be a part of the 2022 Atlanta Musical Theater Festival. www.Chi-ife.com

Kelundra Smith is a theatre critic, arts journalist, and playwright whose mission is to connect people to cultural experiences and each other. She likes to write stories about people with lofty ambitions and her work has been published in The New York Times, Food & Wine, American Theatre Magazine, Bitter Southerner, TDF Stages, ArtsATL, Atlanta Magazine, and many other publications. Her love of writing emerged when her second grade teacher assigned the class “story starters,” which were incomplete sentences that the students were challenged to finish and weave into a story. From then on, Kelundra was hooked on the power of her imagination and knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life telling stories. Around the same time, she discovered the incredible collaboration and catharsis that can come from the performing arts by participating in school plays and skits throughout grade school. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degrees in magazine journalism and theatre from the University of Georgia and her master’s degree from the Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.  She started her career working in arts administration and project management, doing marketing and community engagement for regional theatres and universities. But, the love of reviewing plays and art exhibitions that she developed in graduate school took over, and she “defected” to arts journalism. Today, she primarily reviews plays by and about diverse people from marginalized communities and writes articles about artistic works created by women and people of color. She also serves as a panelist, moderator and workshop facilitator and speaks to students and community groups about the performing arts. Kelundra is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Theatre Critics Association, where she serves on the executive committee and the equity, diversity & inclusion committee. She has been a fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Critics Institute and guest critic at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her long-term goals are to land on The New York Times bestseller list, open a late-night dessert restaurant and have her plays adapted into a hit television series. Dozens of ink stained notebooks later, she still enjoys nothing more than a well-told story. 

Dana L. Stringer is a playwright, poet, screenwriter, and writing instructor with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is also an adjunct creative writing instructor in the Inspiration2Publication program at Antioch University Online. Dana has served as a guest playwright and judge for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Region 8. She currently serves as the Artist-in-Residence at Out of Hand Theater. Her most recent play, We the Village, was selected for Theatrical Outfit’s Made in Atlanta new play development program and the Unexpected Play Festival (2020), as well as Working Title Playwright’s First Light Series (2018). Some of her latest short works have been virtually presented by Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Out of Hand Theater, and Black Theatre Network. A combination of her produced plays, staged readings, and interdisciplinary art have been presented by Theatrical Outfit, Vanguard Repertory Company, Ain’t I a Woman Playfest, Blue Pearl Theatrics, National Black Theatre Festival, Fade to Black Play Festival, MoJo Fest, Coleman & Smith Artistic Company, and NAACP 10-Minute Play Festival. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, In Between Faith. Her poetry has appeared in the African American Review, Rogue Agent, and Blackberry: a magazine. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild and Working Title Playwrights.