What is the Black in Appalachia Initiative?

The Black in Appalachia Initiative began with the idea of amplifying the most diverse stories of our region.

Through our Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP), we committed to presenting at least one play written by a Black Appalachian playwright each year. This was only the first step towards the end goal of all Appalachians being represented on our stages. In this way, our Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights and our Black in Appalachia Initiative have always been, and will always be, intertwined.

In the summer of 2021, we began to expand.

In addition to amplifying the voices of Black writers, we also began collecting stories from our local Black communities ourselves. Through genuine listening and connection, we hope to ensure all voices in our region have a platform to be heard and celebrated. In addition, we also seek to provide tools for any Black Appalachians who wish to tell their own stories through things such as our writing competitions, and free workshops for aspiring Black writers.

Above all else, the Black in Appalachia Initiative aims to provide a safe space for Black Appalachians at Barter Theatre.

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EVENTS BY THE BLACK IN APPALACHIA INITIATIVE

Statement of Intention

The intention of BIAI events, is to provide a safe space for black Appalachian artists to share their stories and showcase their work. We recognize our responsibility as a primarily white institution to use the resources available to us to amplify and center the voices and works of the most historically silenced individuals in our region. Through our Black in Appalachia Initiative, we hope to continue to facilitate spaces in which all Appalachians can come together and appreciate our differences safely and with mutual respect.

BIAI NIGHT – THE ROYALE

Saturday, October 22, 8pm

We invite BIPOC community members, students, artists, journalists and theater lovers of all kinds to the Black In Appalachia Initiative Night of The Royale. We’ll watch the play together and engage after the show in conversation about the themes of the play with the cast and director!

$15 Tickets for audience members who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.

MORE ABOUT THE ROYALE

Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world but it’s 1905, and in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances are virtually nonexistent. Then a promoter hatches a plan for “the fight of the century,” pitting Jay against the reigning white champion… and Jay soon discovers there’s a lot more at stake than a title. An incredibly theatrical look at what it is to climb into the ring with destiny.

PAST EVENTS & GALLERY

Shine: Illuminating Black Stories, April 2022

An evening of storytelling that explores the Black experience in Appalachia while celebrating the work of its Black theatre artists. Six Black playwrights from across the country presented monologues inspired by this collection, performed by Rita Cole and Vince McGill.

WRITING RESOURCES

FREE BIAI MONOLOGUE WRITING WORKSHOP

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH, 1PM-3PM EST

Have a story that would make a great monologue? Playwright Quinton Cockrell (winner of Barter’s 2021 BIAI full-length play competition) will be sharing tips on how to write a great monologue. Young, old, experienced or not – All are welcome!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

BIAI’S MONOLOGUE COMPETITION

It is our hope that by connecting Black playwrights (wherever they are located) with stories from Black Appalachian communities, we can:

  • Create monologues that can be developed into full-length plays
  • Create work that explores the Black Appalachian experience, both past and present
  • Establish and cultivate relationships with Black playwrights and other Black theatre artists
  • Give audiences accessibility to new perspectives on life in Appalachia
Monologue Submission Guidelines
  • Playwright must be Black.
  • Monologues must be set in Appalachia. (See link below for list of qualifying states/counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission)
    https://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/CountiesinAppalachia.asp
  • Monologues must be 5-7 minutes in length (190 words = 1 minute).
  • Monologues must be unpublished and not have had a professional production.
  • Monologues must be written using prompts below.
  • Monologues must be submitted electronically.

Please submit monologues to: tjackson@bartertheatre.com

2023 Monologue Submission Deadline: December 1, 2022

5-7 monologues will be selected to be performed during Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (Jan./Feb. 2023 – date TBD)

BIAI’S FULL PLAY SELECTIONS FOR AFPP

As part of our commitment to amplifying the voices of Black Appalachians, our annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP) presents at least one play written by a Black Appalachian playwright each year.

Past BIAI Selects for AFPP:

2022 – Fish-Tales & Legendary Lies by Anthony Mapp

2021 – City Limits by Quinton Cockrell

Full Length Play Submission Guidelines
  • Playwright must be Black.
  • Plays must be written by an Appalachian playwright or the plays must be set in the Appalachian Region.  See here for list of qualifying states/counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission:  https://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/CountiesinAppalachia.asp
  • Plays must be full length.
  • Plays must be unpublished and not have had a professional production.
  • Plays must be submitted electronically.

Please submit plays to: apfestival@bartertheatre.com

2023 Play Submission Deadline: October 1, 2022