The African American experience is not represented solely by one voice or one style. For the third year in a row Horse Trade Theater Group will present The Fire This Time Festival, providing a platform for talented early-career playwrights of African and African-American descent to explore new voices, styles, and challenging new directions for 21st century performing arts in order to move beyond common misconceptions of what's possible in "black theater." The festival's core production is a short play festival, presenting new work by featured playwrights. Other festival programming includes panel discussions, staged readings, and concert events.
THE FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL was founded in 2009 by playwright Kelley Nicole Girod 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. Past playwrights have included Katori Hall (The Mountaintop on Broadway), Radha Blank (The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group), Kelley Girod (2011 nytheatre.com Person of the Year), Deborah Asimwee, Derek Lee McPhatter (New York Theatre Workshop’s Emerging Playwright’s of Color Fellowship finalist), Geromono Toussaint ((L)imitations at the Lark Play Development Center), Pia Wilson (The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group), Jesse Cameron Alick (LaMaMa-Loped), Camille Darby (2011 finalist for the Van Lier Fellowship program at The Lark Play Development Center), Christine Jean Chambers, Marcus Gardley (2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright), Dominique Morisseau (The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group), and Yusef Miller (Made at Horse Trade).
The first season of the festival brought together over thirty collaborative performers, directors, and other collaborators to create an amazing evening of short one-act plays. Presented by Horse Trade Theater Group 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 the Fire This Time Festival presented a dynamic theatrical experience.
Following the success of the first year, The Fire This Time Festival 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, The Fire This Time Festival has quickly become a destination for diverse audiences, producers, and artists seeking new possibilities and opportunities in contemporary theater. www.firethistimefestival.com