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The Fire This Time

Is there post black black theatre?  If so, what are the stories?

Year One Playwrights: Deborah Asiimwe, Radha Blank, Kelley Girod, Katori Hall, Derek Lee McPhatter, Germono Toussaint, & Pia Wilson

Year Two Playwrights: Jesse Cameron Alick, Christine Chambers, Camille Darby, Marcus Gardley, Yusef Miller, and Dominique Morisseau

Donations can be mailed in to:
Horse Trade
Attn: Fire This Time
85 E 4th St.
NYC, NY 10003

Make checks payable to:
Fractured Atlas
with "Fire This Time" in the Memo Line.


The African American experience is not represented solely by one voice or one style. Horse Trade Theater Group will present THE FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL, a platform for talented early-career playwrights of African-American descent to explore new voices, styles and challenging new directions for 21st century performing arts, and move beyond common ideas of what is possible in “black theater.” THE FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL 2011 will feature five staged readings, six ten-minute plays, and a panel discussion on Diversity in Contemporary Theatre.

$15 Tickets are available by calling
Smarttix at 212-868-4444
or on the website

Reservations for free events are strongly encouraged. RSVP at

January 17 thru January 30 2011

Diversity in Contemporary Theatre Panel
January 17 at 7pm FREE
Panelists include Keith Josef Adkins (playwright, Co-Artistic Director of The New Black Fest), Heidi Grumelot (Artistic Director, Horse Trade Theatre Group), J.Holtham (Co-Artistic Director, The New Black Fest), Morgan Jeness (Agent, Abrams Agency), Abigail Katz (Literary Associate, Atlantic Theatre Company), Nick Maccarone (Actor/Youth Mentor), Nicole A. Watson (director), and Pia Wilson (playwright).

The Flower Thief
Written by Pia Wilson
January 18 at 7pm FREE
The Flower Thief is about a young man named Clark and the exploration of his grief after he loses his twin brother in a drowning accident. Jumping through time and mind, we also see Clark through the lens of his troubled relationship with a young woman named Angela.

Casket Sharp
Written by Radha Blank
January 19 at 7pm FREE

Casket Sharp explores gang rituals and death rites at a funeral parlor in the center of a deprived town. 

Ten-Minute Plays $15
January 20-22 & 27-29 at 7pm
January 23 & 30 at 2pm 
Featuring The Scorpion and the Fox by Jesse Cameron Alick, The Big Crunch or...(the eternal return) by Christine Jean Chambers, Exodus by Camille Darby, The Bitter Seraph of Sugar Hill by Marcus Gardley, Breakfast by Yusef Miller, and Third Grade by Dominique Morisseau.

The Anointed (A Full Length)
By Germono Toussaint
January 24 at 7pm FREE 
Four African American ministers are forced to wrestle with their own truth. The truth that they know could set them free or destroy their ministries. A talkback with writer Germono Toussaint will follow the reading.

Gypsy Moth
By Kelley Nicole Girod
January 25 at 7pm FREE

Gypsy moths are seen only in mid-summer.  Males are grayish brown and can fly; females are larger, whitish with black marks and cannot fly.

On Troubled Waters
By Derek Lee McPhatter
January 26 at 7pm FREE

There may be nothing left to lose as the city vanishes into the sea, but three challengers – a healer, a teacher and a soldier will finally confront that Madman at the bridge. It’s a showdown, throw-down for the ages, but nobody agreed to a fair fight, and this time madness just might be love. 

Production Partners
A Mile in My Shoes, Inc.
Under the Spell Productions, Inc.

Horse Trade and the Fire This Time proudly support
The New Black Fest


This Year's Playwrights

Camille Darby


was born in Jamaica, West Indies, but migrated to New York City with her family at 6 years old. Her constant attempts at adjusting to American culture—she soon discovered—were best manifested through her writing. It was her first play Mother, May I? written in her high school’s Residency Arts Programthat drew the attention of acclaimed playwright, Wendy Wasserstein.  With the guidance and encouragement of Wasserstein, Camille continued to study theatre, history, literature and film at Sarah Lawrence College where she received her B.A. in Liberal Arts in 2005. During the same year, she also received Honorable Mention at the College Language Association Creative Writing Contest for her ten-minute play Where Your Gun At?—­a social commentary examining the women of the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s. Camille holds an M.F.A in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s, Tisch School of the Arts, and during that time, has had a series of readings at The Public Theatre, which include Easy Conversation and Sweetest Taboo. In 2008, Camille received the Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) playwriting prize from the Bronx Council on the Arts for her full-length play Lords Resistance.

Marcus Gardley


is a multiple award-winning poet-playwright who recently won the prestigious 2008 Helen Merrill Award and a Kesselring honor. His most recent play And Jesus moonwalks the Mississippi was produced at the Cutting Ball Theater and received both critical acclaim and two sold-out extensions. His Bay Area plays This World in a Woman’s Hands (October 2009) and Love is a Dream House in Lorin (March 2007) have been hailed as the best in Bay Area theater. The latter was nominated for the National Critics Steinberg New Play Award. He has had six plays produced including: dance of the holy ghost at Yale Repertory Theatre (now under a commercial Broadway option,) (L)imitations of Life, at the Empty Space and like sun fallin’ in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of the SF Bay Area’s Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is a member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild and the Lark Play Development Center. Gardley, a native of West Oakland, was recently chosen as one of 50 writers to watch by Dramatists Magazine.  His play On the Levee will premiere at Lincoln Center in July and his other new work, Every Tongue Confess will open Arena Stage’s new theater in November directed by Kenny Leon. Gardley teaches Playwriting and African-American studies at Umass Amherst.

Dominique Morisseau


is a Writer and Actress in New York City, and a current member of the 2010 Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group and the 2010-2012 Women’s Project Lab. 
Her produced plays include: Black at Michigan (Cherry Lane Studio/DUTF), Socks (Center Stage NY), Roses Are Played Out (Center Stage NY, American Theatre of Harlem), and Love and Nappiness (Center Stage NY, American Theatre of Harlem). 
Her full-length play, Retrospect For Life, has been workshopped with the Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop, the National Black Theatre Festival, Lark Play Development Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, and the Classical Theatre of Harlem. 
Her full length play, Follow Me To Nellie’s, was selected for the 2010 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference.
Additionally, Follow Me To Nellie’s has received readings with the Black Mondays Reading Series, The Standard Theatre Collective, Penumbra Theatre Company, and the Classical Theatre of Harlem.
Currently, Dominique is developing a three-play cycle on her hometown of Detroit.  Her most recently completed play, Detroit 67, based on the riots of 1967, is the first of the cycle.  It is currently being developed at the Public Theatre.
She has authored several short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, and has performed as an Actress with such companies as New York Stage and Film, McCarter Theatre, Lark Theatre Co, MCC Theatre, and Women’s Project.  Her literary work has been published in the New York Times bestselling series- Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, the Harlem-based literary journal, Signifyin’ Harlem, and featured on Robert Townsend’s MBC Networks series, Spoken and in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Poetry: Expression in the Right Direction.
As a playwright, Dominique is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award Recipient, a two-time nominee for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize in Playwriting, and a scholarship recipient to the Black Women Playwrights Conference.  She has a passion for writing stories with strong Women of Color as protagonists, and beautifully human stories- no matter who the protagonist. 

Jesse Cameron Alick


is a poet, playwright and Zen Master.  Jesse works as the Artistic Director for Subjective Theatre Company (, the Executive Assistant to the Artistic Director at the Public Theater ( and is Assistant to the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.    Jesse is also the east coast editor of High Contrast Review (, freelance journalist and essayist.  Jesse studied writing with playwright Adrienne Kennedy. 
Jesse has had essays, articles and poetry published by High Contrast Review, XY, A&U, POZ, The Errorist, Courier Life, Smokin Word Publications and Random House.  He has been commissioned to write work for Streetlight Productions, Freedom Train Productions, Working Man’s Clothes and Subjective Films.  His work has been heard at locations that include Cherry Lane Theater (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), Asian American Writers Workshop (co-produced by New York Theater Workshop), Collective Unconscious, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Museum of the City of New York (produced by Harlem Arts Alliance), CSV, Blue Heron, Bowery Poetry Club, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Ohio Theater, Dixon Place, 78th street theater lab, The Crystal Theater (MT), The Columbus Performing Arts Center (OH), The Poetry Café (UK) and Hip Heaven (UK).  Jesse’s newest play was workshopped at the Old Vic Theatre in London as part of their young artist exchange program and this fall his play COME BACK TO ME will be in the Shakespeare in Paradise festival in the Bahamas. 

Yusef Miller


Yusef Miller, Playwright. In 2006, Yusef suspended his acting career to pursue Playwriting. He was accepted as a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellow at The Juilliard School, mentored by Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang. In 2007, he was awarded the Le Comte Du Nouy Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. In 2008, he was subsidized for the entire year, being awarded the inaugural Frederick Fellowship.
Hookyjook, the Land of...: Lark Roundtable Reading; Classical Theatre of Harlem and The Ford Foundation Future Classics Reading; Arnold Weissberger Nominee (Williamstown); Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab Workshop/Investigation; Reverie Production’s Next Generation Playwriting Contest Semi-Finalist; The Juilliard School Reading. Aaron&Tekla: The Juilliard School Reading; The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., Reading. The House of Buddy Baines: It Takes a Village: Lark’s Playwrights Week, Semi-Finalist; The Juilliard School Workshop Reading. Songs of My So-Called Masculinity: NYU Workshop Reading.
Ding-Dong, (Short film, 2009), written: Ripfest #10 Short Film Festival;
Patent Leather Scars, (Short Film, 2009), produced, written, starring.
Memberships: AEA, SAG
Training: BA, English, Morehouse College; Certificate of Acting, Alliance Theater Professional Acting Intern Company; MFA, Theatre and Dance, University of California, San Diego.
For acting and other information, log on to

Christine Jean Chambers


is a published playwright – (oh! and also a photographer.) Write story, see story, same thing. Her plays have been produced, yes. Once at The Flea, once in a barn, and once under a mimed tree. She went to Columbia University to get her MFA in Playwriting, and she misses Eduardo and these other names you might recognize... Theresa Rebeck with her brilliant smile, Christopher Shin and his piercing eyes, and Kelly Stuart with that awesome giggle and super long hair. She would miss them more but most of them are on Facebook. Christine once had a near death experience when she thought she could put down the pen, but then…She is extremely honored to be with such a group of kick-ass writers.

Pia Wilson received a 2009 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is a member of the 2009 Project Footlight team of composers and librettists and a member of the 2008 inaugural Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater. Pia is also a 2009 resident in the Women's Work Lab at New Perspectives Theatre. Her full-length drama, Red Rooster, was a part of the Emerging Writers Spotlight Series at The Public Theater. All the Pretty Girls was featured in The Looking Glass Theatre's Spring 2009 Writer/Director Forum. The River Pure for Healing was part of the 2008 Resilience of the Spirit play festival. Her play, Tree of Life, received a 2007 workshop production at The Red Room Theater. Short plays and one-acts: The Things Tom Left Behind (The Drafts 10 Minute Play Festival: Six Plays About Hope); End of the World (New Perspectives Theatre's "By Popular Demand" festival); Dressed In Your Dreams (Stagecrafter's New Works Play Festival); Do You Proud (Eclectic Theater Company's "Got a Minute?" play festival); Whatever and Delicately (Groove Mama Ink; The Looking Glass Theatre's Spring 2008 Writer/Director Forum); The Rooster Never Crows (OneHeart Productions).

Germono Toussaint is a playwright, composer, arranger and lyricist. Toussaint knew upon seeing the musical Dreamgirls at the age of eight that he wanted a career in theatre.
In 2005 Toussaint wrote the book, music, and lyrics for his original musical Caged, based on interviews he conducted with thirteen women at a halfway house. Caged premiered at the Broadway Theater Center in Milwaukee and was featured in the Not for Broadway Theater Festival in New York City in 2006. Toussaint and Marcus Gardley have also had a workshop of their new musical (L)imitations at the Lark Play Development Center. An article about this musical was featured in American Theatre Magazine.
As an active composer/arranger he has arranged music for such artists as Nhojj, Kenya Sollas, Steinman Dean and Chante Brown. He has transcribed original music for Katori Hall Inc, Common Thread Theater and was the arranger/producer of the Verve concert series with The Well Entertainment Group.
Toussaint has composed music for Skylight Opera Theatre, Handful Players, Fishgrease Productions, New Dramatist’s Nocturnal Commissions, Tripping: The Musical and productions of The Pied Piper, Hansel and Gretel, The Laramie Project and Love Rides the Rails.
Toussaint has a BFA in composition and has received grants and awards from The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, The Wisconsin Arts Board, The Helen Bader Foundation, The Community Chorale for Christ, The Center for Performance and Excellence of Music, and Cardinal Stritch University.

Derek Lee McPhatter Originally from Pickerington Ohio, Derek Lee McPhatter has lived in Atlanta and Japan and calls Harlem home. Derek is a 2009 Resident Playwright with Brooklyn-based Freedomtrain Productions, which commissioned Mr. McPhatter to draft a new play, Bring the Beat Back, premiering at Freedomtrain's Fire Festival in August 2009. Derek’s additional  accomplishments include publications in the journals Anamesa and Flash Fantastic, and the Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History. He is the co-author of It Goes Unsaid, the signature show for Under the Spell Productions. He was a quarterfinalist in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writer’s of the Future Contest, and is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance and the Speculative Literature Foundation. He holds degrees from Morehouse College and NYU, where he completed his master’s thesis—Let the Kids Say Amen: Black Gay Spaces and the Hybridity of Gospel House Music. By days, Derek works at the Apollo Theater and hosted the 2009 Apollo Salon Series, a works-in-development program presented weekends in April. He invites you to check out his blog: for more.

Radha Blank began her career with her one-woman Hip-Hop b-ball ‘dramedy' Kenya (Dixon Place, Hip-Hop Theater Festival, Public Theater’s New Works Now, HERE; awards: New Professional Theatre's Annual Writers Award for Best Script, The NY Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship and Nickelodeon's Writers Fellowship). Radha later wrote for Nickelodeon shows The Backyardigans and Little Bill, debuted her original animated short, Papa Moco Jumbie and wrote a pilot for TeenNick based on her life as a young comic in NYC called My Life Is A Joke. 
Radha returned to theater with seed, which was developed through Classical Theater of Harlem’s Future Projects initiative and will be presented in conjunction with The NYC Hip Hop Theater Festival in 2010. seed garnered Radha membership into the Public Theaters Inaugural Emerging Writers Group (2008) where she developed the satire nannyland. Her latest project is Happy.Flower.Nail, a solo show that explores gentrification through the women who inhabit a Bed-Stuy nail salon. Happy.Flower.Nail was developed at Voice & Vision’s Envision Retreat at Bard and most recently performed at the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference. Radha was also recently nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein prize in playwriting.  
Seeing writing as a path to self-discovery and self-empowerment, Radha has instructed NYC youth in poetry and playwriting for over fifteen years. She finds inspiration in both the rhythm of youth culture and the pulse of social justice issues facing urban American communities of color. 

Kelley Nicole Girod is a 2008 graduate of Columbia's MFA playwriting program where she was named the Stein and Liberace scholar as well as the John Golden fellow for her artistic merit.  Kelley hails from Louisiana where she attended Louisiana State University and works extensively with the artistic community of Baton Rouge, most recently serving as a panel judge for Louisiana's artist in residency program.  She has had plays produced in Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, and Columbus, Ohio and has had readings at Primary Stages, the Labyrinth studio and Horsetrade Theatre Co.(NYC) which produced her play "Parabolas" as part of their downtown theatre festival.  She is also a resident playwright for the Horse Trade's Drafts this year as well as a staff member of the theatre. 

New York IT Awards