Snellville, GA (PressExposure) May 05, 2012 -- Toni Simmons Henson, founder and executive director of the inaugural Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, is now accepting submissions from playwrights for the Oct. 4-7 festival in midtown Atlanta's Theatre District.
The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is a weekend celebration of theatrical expression and showcases a variety of spell-binding and provocative performances from a host of the most talented performers in the world. It will bring the best in black theatre to Atlanta each fall.
The weekend celebration is expected to draw more than 5,000 theatre lovers and 200 performers from all over world to perform than 40 plays in four days. ?
Director/Producer Toni Simmons Henson, who grew up in the backyard of Broadway in New Jersey, has had a passion for theater that stems back to her childhood when she and her sister Wanda wrote, directed and produced popular plays, attracting neighborhood kids, and yielding enough in ticket sales to cover expenses "and lots of ice cream," Henson said.
Henson graduated from Howard and New York Universities, married and was raising four children when, in 2004, her penchant for acting re-emerged. Henson, burst on the scene as the executive director of the Princeton Territory, the largest acting academy in the world, the Helen O'Grady Acting Academy (or Drama Kids in the U.S.). In a few years, her company had produced more than 80 plays and presentations and trained more than 750 kids in acting and public speaking. The explosive popularity of the program attracted national publicity in Entrepreneur Magazine and the graced the cover of the Princeton Packet Weekend Magazine.
In 2007, Henson moved to Atlanta and founded Micah 6:8 Media, LLC. She produced and directed two hit stage plays: Once Upon a Dream by Khristi Adams and Big Girls Gotta Eat, Too! by Melissa Blackmon & Wanda Simmons. As a newcomer to the Atlanta theater scene, Henson, noticed a huge opportunity to create a platform for black theatre. "Atlanta area is home to the second largest population of African-Americans in the country and has the fastest growing film industry south of Hollywood," Henson said. "The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival was born. Our art is our history, so I consider this my mandate and that's a serious responsibility."
To submit for the October 2012 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, plays must be written, co-written or directed by an African-American or individual of African descent. The main character (or at least the two key roles) must be performed by an African-American or individual of African descent.
The subject or theme must be based on an historic figure, incident, or period relating to the black experience.
Henson welcomes all types of play submissions, whether traditional such as the writing of August Wilson, conventional with a twist such as The Wiz, urban contemporary such as Tyler Perry, gospel, musical, comedy, classical, experimental or a new interpretation. Submissions from international artists are strenuously encouraged.
The categories include full-length, solo, and one-act performances; authors for the Festival's Author's Alley; poets, singers, dancers and more. In addition, the Theatre also accepts playwright submissions for performances by those under age 21 for the Festival's Youth Showdown, and welcomes industry experts for workshops.
"Our goal is to deliver festival patrons quality plays long enough to satisfy their theatrical experience yet short enough to retain their desire to attend multiple performances. Quality is determined by six standards: crisp dialogue, savvy construction, a satisfying ending, strong character development, a competent producer and the production value."
Please see the Festival's website at www.AtlantaBlackTheatreFestival.org [http://www.atlantablacktheatrefestival.org/] for more information. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS JUNE 15, 2012.