Black Voices Reading Series

Black Voices Reading Series 2022

Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre
March 28, April 4, 11, and 18 at 5:30pm PT
Online events and in-person watch parties 

San Diego REP's Black Voices Reading Series returns in March 2022 with four new plays principally curated by Alexis Williams and Danielle Ward, with additional curation by Jasmine Brooks, Zack King, and Ahmed Dents.

The four play readings will be presented live online on each consecutive Monday at 5:30pm PDT beginning March 28 2022. Post show discussions will take place after each play.

This year we will have in-person Community Partnered Watch Parties at our Lyceum Theatres in downtown San Diego, hosted by our Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager, Kandace Crystal, and Artistic Producer, Julianna Stephanie Ojeda.

by Alexandra Espinoza
Directed by Stephen Buescher
Mon, Mar 28 2022
5:30PM PST, 6:30 PM MDT, 7:30 PM CDT, 8:30 PM EDT

PLAY SYNOPSIS: Mac, an adjunct lecturer, and Nessa, a freshman, are both African-Americans in a very white department at a very white college who are deeply passionate about Homer’s The Odyssey. When they stumble upon the discovery that Homer came from Africa, they must figure out how to honor this truth in the face of university administrators, overbearing older siblings, the Internet, and Homer himself. Espinoza’s play explores questions around who controls the narrative and how to disrupt the status quo.

PLAYWRIGHT BIO: Alexandra Espinoza is a playwright, performer, director, dramaturg, and more. As playwright: All My Mothers Dream in Spanish (IATI Theater Cimientos Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation Honorable Mention), exxx…stasis, exxx…hale… (Villanova Theatre), HOMERIDAE (Theatre Exile Studio X-hibition, Unicorn Theatre Works in Progress), and PERIL’s ISLAND written with the community of Harrowgate (Shakespeare in Clark Park). As director: Angelina Grimké’s Rachel (Quintessence Theatre 2020), Alice Childress’s Wine in the Wilderness (Philadelphia Artists Collective 2022). In 2021 Alexandra created and directed the community driven play BlackBestFriend, supported by the Leeway Foundation, Art is Essential, and the Open Meadows Foundation.  Alexandra is the Education Associate at the Wilma Theater and a lifelong student for collective liberation. AlexandraEspinozaPlay.com

DIRECTOR BIO: Stephen Buescher is a Director and Choreographer. He has directed numerous plays in American Conservatory Theater’s Graduate program including The House of Bernarda Alba (Moscow Art Theater), Black Orpheus, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Galileo, and recently Man in Love at UCSD. Stephen was the Assistant Director for ACT’s Hamlet and has directed workshop productions of The Sadness of Johnny Depp (San Diego Rep), Black Top Sky (ACT), and Daisies on Harlem’s Doorstep (UCSD). Currently Stephen is directing a workshop production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Fiasco Theater. Stephen is a member of SDC as a Director/Choreographer.

by Marti Gobel

Directed by Jasmine Brooks

Mon, Apr 4 2022
5:30PM PST, 6:30 PM MDT, 7:30 PM CDT, 8:30 PM EDT

Lynn, a popular Food Channel host and chef, makes a life-changing decision for her family based on a fan letter sent to her from an inmate in a maximum security prison in California. Discussions arise around the family table concerning who deserves quality food and who holds the power to decide the family’s fate. This humorous and heart-felt glimpse of one family’s food culture reminds us all of the power of sharing a meal.

PLAYWRIGHT BIO: Marti Gobel is a nationally recognized actor, director and teaching artist. Upon graduating from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Performance Theatre and Philosophy (with an emphasis in Religious Studies), Ms. Gobel began a rich career in both theatre and television and film. Her need to add to the tapestry of the mid-west professional theatre scene led to the founding of the now defunct UPROOTED theatre. As Producing Artistic Director (from 2009-2015) worked tirelessly to diversify the arts through her efforts. Ms. Gobel is a proud member of both Actors Equity Association and SAG- AFTRA.

DIRECTOR BIO: Jasmine Brooks is a Boston based director and producer. Jasmine previously worked at Company One Theatre as the Artistic Associate and NNPN Producer in Residence, and at SpeakEasy Stage Boston Project Coordinator at SpeakEasy Stage. Jasmine is a lover of New Play Development. Select Directing/Assistant Directing credits include BLKS (SpeakEasy Stage, Directed by Tonasia Jones), CAN I TOUCH IT? (NNPN's National Showcase of New Plays and Company One Theatre Workshop), TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES (Fresh Ink Theatre), TOWARDS AN ANTI-RACIST TOMORROW: BLACK FLAG (Free Soil Arts Collective), PERIOD PIECE (Visceral Entertainment), WOLF PLAY (Company One Theatre). She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, School of Theatre. jasminerosebrooks.com
by Darren Canady
Directed by Jay O’Leary Woods

Mon, April 11 2022
5:30PM PST, 6:30 PM MDT, 7:30 PM CDT, 8:30 PM EDT

Using elements of sci-fi, Afrofuturism, and personal family narrative, Canady’s play resonates now more than ever as we navigate questions of ownership and accountability. When a young Black woman participates in a government program offering reparations, the new technology used unlocks the blood memories of her family within her genetic history, unleashing a torrent of unpredictable consequences for her and her family.
PLAYWRIGHT BIO: Darren Canady hails from Topeka, KS. His work has been produced numerous theatres including the Alliance Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Aurora Theater, and others. His awards include the Alliance Theater's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, Chicago’s Black Excellence Award, the Black Theatre Alliance Award, and the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. His work has been seen/developed at numerous festivals. His play You’re Invited appeared in The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. He is a current member of the Core Writers Program at the Playwrights’s Center and Midwest Dramatists Center. He is an artistic associate with American Blues Theater and Congo Square Theatre. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas.
DIRECTOR BIO: JAY WOODS is a director, educator, and performer transplanted in Seattle from New York. Newly appointed to Associate Artistic Director - Artist Engagement at The 5th Avenue Theatre, Jay recently finished serving in artistic leadership at Sound Theatre Company and is the founder of the Seattle Theatre Leaders Collective. Jay has worked across the U.S. and internationally for Seattle Rep, Seattle Public Theatre, Intiman, Earthseed, ArtsWest, Village Theatre, ACT, Scottish Youth Theatre, Duke, Carnegie Mellon, and Yale. Currently in process: writing the stage and screen adaptations of Natasha Marin's Black Imagination.
by R. Eric Thomas
Directed by Pascale Florestal

Mon, Apr 18 2022
5:30PM PST,6:30 PM MDT, 7:30 PM CDT, 8:30 PM EDT

In this new play by acclaimed satirist R. Eric Thomas, a change is in the air for a family after an unexpected loss. Mel, mother of Avery and Jessica, tries to reclaim her place in a gentrified neighborhood, while her kids learn firsthand how to balance their own lives. Praised by Lin-Manuel Miranda as “one of the funniest writers,” R. Eric Thomas’s play contemplates what it means to start over again.

PLAYWRIGHT BIO: R. Eric Thomas, a national bestselling author and playwright, won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award. He was on the writing staff for the Peabody Award-winning series Dickinson (AppleTV+) and Better Things (FX) and has been commissioned or produced on stage by Baltimore Center Stage, National New Play Network, Everyman Theater, and more. He is also the author of three books, HERE FOR IT, RECLAIMING HER TIME, and KINGS OF B'MORE. He is an alumnus of The Foundry, the Lambda Literary Fellowship, and the Ingram New Works Fellowship. Website: Rericthomas.com New Play Exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/users/892/r-eric-thomas

DIRECTOR BIO: Pascale Florestal is a Director, Educator, Dramaturg, Writer and Collaborator based in Boston, MA. Upcoming Directing Credits: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing with Emerson Stage, Everybody with Boston Conservatory, The Colored Museum with The Umbrella and Once On This Island with SpeakEasy Stage. Pascale was recently named one of the ARTery 25 Artists of Color Transforming the Cultural Landscape in Boston. She also serves as the Education Director and Associate Producer for The Front Porch Arts Collective and is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Boston Conservatory

Black Voices Reading Series

In March/April of 2021, we produced a new online reading series that featured four plays representing a diverse range of Black voices.

Those plays included: Polar Bears, Black Boys, and Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham, directed by Rondrell McCormick; Baton, written by Deneen Reynolds-Knott, directed by Dexter Singleton. Mud Row by Dominique Morriseau, directed by Patricia McGregor; and The Great Khan by Michael Gene Sullivan, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. Each of these plays were followed by conversations around the themes, elements, and experiences sparked by these artists.
The 2021 Play Reading Series was curated by director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg and REP Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager Danielle Ward, with additional curation by dramaturg Kimberly King and REP Artistic Associate and host of We Are Listening Ahmed Dents. The series was produced by then REP Associate Producer & Casting Director Kim Heil and National New Play Network Producer-in-Residence Rebecca Myers.

Black Voices Reading Series

Dates: Mondays in March/April 2022
Location: Online through San Diego Repertory Theatre

San Diego REP’s Black Voices Reading Series Overview San Diego Repertory Theatre is proud to announce open submissions to the 2022 Black Voices Reading Series, a series of four new play readings representing a diverse range of Black voices. Through this series, San Diego REP seeks to find plays that fit the San Diego REP mission, provide space for Black stories and theatre artists that spotlight the broad range of today’s Black experience, and create an opportunity for discussion around the various topics explored in each play. Past selections include work by Dominique Morisseau, Vincent Terrell Durham, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and Michael Gene Sullivan. The Great Khan, a piece by Sullivan from the 2021 Black Voices Reading Series, is being produced by San Diego REP in 2022. The reading series will take place in a virtual format to reach a global audience as well as to allow artistic directors, literary managers, and producers accessibility to view new work for their theatres.

Festival Details

Four scripts from playwrights nationwide will be selected by a panel of curators comprised of local and national theatre professionals. Each play will each be rehearsed over the course of one week, resulting in an online public reading on Monday evening. Readings will be rehearsed in Feb/March 2022; combined rehearsal and performance will not exceed 15 hours.


This open call for submissions is only open to self-identifying Black playwrights living in San Diego County. Plays must be unpublished and/or not have more than one professional production at the time of submission. University productions or other non-professional workshops/productions will not disqualify a script. At this time, only full length (at least 80 minutes), non-musicals, with cast size between two and nine will be considered. We are seeking work that is ready for a full production. Adaptations are allowed as long as the playwright holds rights. Plays with music will be considered as resources allow (cast-size less eight and under, piano only). Submissions are limited to one script per playwright.

Selection Criteria

A curation committee will choose the four plays for this series from a pool of select scripts from playwrights across the nation as well as local submissions. This year the lead curator, who will help bring new plays to the table and then lead our selection process is Alexis Williams a former literary agent and current Associate Artistic Director of Playwright’s Realm. San Diego Rep Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager Danielle Ward will also be joined by San Diego REP Director of Venue Experience and Artistic Associate Ahmed Dents, San Diego Black Artist Collective member and performing artist Zach King, and Boston-based producer, director, and actor Jasmine Brooks as part of the curation team. Selection will be based upon:
  • Alignment with San Diego Repertory Theatre's mission to produce intimate, provocative, inclusive theatre through vivid and theatrical works that nourish progressive political and social values;
  • Artistic merit—including quality, impact, purpose, and aesthetics of the play;
  • Robust conversations for today’s audiences that can be sparked from the play.

Submission Procedure

All applicants must complete the following two steps:
1. Submit a cover letter with:
  • Your name, email address, and phone number
  • A one paragraph synopsis of the script â—‹ Number of actors required
  • Please list any prior development work, production history, or awards for this play
  • Playwright biography (100 word limit)
2. Send your script with a clear cast list to litassist@sdrep.org and CC Danielle Ward at dward@sdrep.org. Use the Email Subject Line: 2022 Black Voices Reading Series Submission, Your Name, Script Title All entries must be emailed by: Friday, October 8, 2021 by 11:59 PM PST.

Hard copies will not be accepted. PDF documents are strongly recommended to avoid formatting discrepancies. Selected playwrights will be notified via email by Dec 31, 2021.

If you have any questions, please email Danielle Ward at: dward@sdrep.org

About San Diego Repertory Theatre

San Diego Repertory Theatre produces intimate, provocative, inclusive theatre. San Diego REP promotes an interconnected community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. San Diego Repertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. Since 1976, San Diego REP has produced 60 world premieres, 91 main stage productions by playwrights who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, 68 works by playwrights who are female identifying. San Diego Repertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego Repertory Theatre, visit www.sdrep.org.

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