Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fire! New Play Festival

Fire! New Play Festival
Freedom Train Productions lights up the stage with black gay characters.
By Beth Greenfield

Playwright Patricia Ione Lloyd and Freedom Train Productions founder Andre Lancaster
Plays written from a black gay perspective are not exactly easy to come by. But in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the mighty efforts of one little-known theater initiative are trying to change that. Freedom Train Productions, founded in 2006 by Andre Lancaster (and the funds he secured through an NYU Wagner School Social Justice Fellowship), is dedicated to nurturing up-and-coming playwrights and staging new works of political theater that = 20 feature queer black protagonists.

I really wanted to create a stable institution that was about developing personal stories with an urgent message,” says Lancaster, 30. “It’s a labor of love.”

Since its founding, Freedom Train—which receives funding from organizations including Stonewall Community Foundation and the Brooklyn Arts Council—has been happily chugging along, thanks to the efforts of more than 40 artists, board members, producers and volunteers. They work with three artists-in-residence a year to organize community forums that highlight the playwrights’ themes, and to produce Fire!, the festival that presents staged readings of the three writers’ new works-in-progress.

Our stamp is that we want to not only highlight the social justice issues, but be informed by the communities in which we live,” Lancaster explains.

This year’s Fire! runs through August 20—with each new play preceded by a StoryCorps interview with the playwright and followed by an audience talk back led by a lineup of fellow artists and writers. TONY chatted with each scribe before the festival.

Fire! New Play Festival 2009 runs now through Aug 20 at South Oxford Space.

See To read entire story: Timeout NY

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