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A Closer Look: The New Black Fest at The Lark 2018

Playwrights’ Corner
Center, a person sits at a piano. An actor on either side of her sit on stools and sing into microphones.
In the rehearsal room for Liza Jessie Peterson's CHIRON'S HOMEGURL HEALER HOWLS, The New Black Fest at The Lark 2017

TODAY marks the kick-off of the fifth annual collaboration of The New Black Fest and The Lark, aptly named The New Black Fest at The Lark 2018! This festival is aimed at showcasing the diverse and provocative work of Black theater artists from throughout the Diaspora by featuring talkbacks, a panel event, and staged readings of four new plays-in-progress.

This year's festival will feature plays-in-progress by France-Luce Benson, Donja R. Love, Jonathan Payne, and Liza Jessie Peterson, and will center the theme Black Love, Black Space, and Solidarity, conceived by Artistic Director and Co-Founder of The New Black Fest Keith Josef Adkins.

To give audiences a closer look at the work being done this week, theatermaker and former producer for The New Black Fest at The Lark TJ Weaver interviewed each of the writers about their plays, their goals for the festival, and what the theme means to them. Check out the links below for what each of them had to say, then join us for these exciting events throughout the week!

Headshot of France-Luce Benson

"I've been wanting to write a play about the Haitian Revolution for many years, but was intimidated by the epic scale of the story, and a responsibility to do it justice. I never felt quite ready."
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Headshot of Donja R. Love
SOFT by Donja R. Love

"This world is hard. Period. And it often tries to harden you. It did with me for a long time. Unfortunately, there were moments when I thought my only escape was suicide. I thought the only way to stop myself from being crushed by the hardness of the world was to take myself out of it." Read More

Headshot of Jonathan Payne
BROTHER RABBIT by Jonathan Payne

"The play started with mental health. I'm a social worker as my day job and a son of quite the devoted Christian. As a child I grew up with questions and just all around teenage strife, and my mother's advice was always to pray. Pray and be patient." Read More

Headshot of Liza Jessie Peterson

"Black love and space and solidarity is messy. It's not all fuzzy wuzzy kumbaya, but rather it is the sacred space where we get to be vulnerable together without the white gaze, and argue, fuss, challenge..." Read More