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Jade Estrada Talks About the New Works from Black Playwrights for New Play Development Series at the Overtime


Are you a Black playwright who has written a play or musical that is ready to be developed or possibly produced? The Overtime Theater in San Antonio, Texas, might be able to make that happen.

This month, the Overtime is seeking previously unproduced, original work for its New Play Development Series, which will begin during Black History Month. Though full-length plays are welcome, the Overtime especially seeks one-act plays that require one to three actors. The chosen play (or plays) will be given two rehearsals and one staged reading on Thurs., Feb 3, 2022, at the Overtime.

Devoted to producing new and original work, the Overtime is particularly interested in bold, innovative plays that are both challenging and entertaining. The theater is also attracted to Texas-centric creations. Jade Esteban Estrada, the theater’s new artistic director, talked to ArtScene SA about it:

What are the goals you want to accomplish with this series?

The Overtime’s artistic director, Jade Esteban Estrada

Wonderful question. The first goal is to bring more fully developed plays to our stages. When a great, meaningful play has an opening night, it is likely that the play had a table reading, a staged reading, and one or more workshop development performances, shows that were clearly marketed at works in progress. The best writing is rewriting. In my own experience as a playwright, I get a much fuller picture of what my play is about after I put it up in front of a live audience.

“Scott McDowell — the president of the Overtime Theater’s board of directors — and I are on the same page about wanting the Overtime to be a place for new and seasoned playwrights to create new works in a safe and nurturing environment. I am keen on developing plays that require a small number of actors so that our patrons can feel that much more comfortable in our space. For this reason, solo plays and plays that call for two to five actors are very appealing to me right now.

“My hope is that this first edition of the New Play Development Series, which will focus on Black playwrights in observance of Black History Month, will be the beginning of concurrent programming that will keep our Little Overtime Theater alive with fresh perspectives and creative energy. Our first New Play Development Series offering will rehearse for two nights in the performance space before the reading, which will take place Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. I am thrilled about the upcoming possibilities to give aspiring directors the opportunity to direct short plays in this setting with guidance from our creative team.

“Another advantage of this opportunity is the blessing of working with actors who are new to our space. This series is innately an outreach program, a chance to network with other creative people, and discuss new ideas about how theatre innovatively survives during the age of Covid. It will take a lot of open minds, fluid approaches, but I believe it can be done.

“Looking ahead, our March edition of the series will focus on plays written by women. June will focus on plays written by LGBTQ+ playwrights. We look forward to sharing more information about the series as we continue to solidify the program.”

What about the importance of the series for these voices in San Antonio?

“Great storytelling inspires curiosity, and curiosity gives rise to questions, and when we ask questions, we find solutions and sometimes turn conflict into creativity. Hearing culturally relevant, pandemic-era stories is important not just to individuals cultivating their creative voice, but to potentially to anyone willing to sit down and listen.”

The Deets

Only submissions in a Word document or PDF will be considered. The Overtime, an all-volunteer organization, compensates playwrights with one equal share of donations to our love bucket at the end of the show’s presentation. Submissions should be sent to Attn: Jade Esteban Estrada. Deadline is midnight, Jan. 29, 2022.

Feature photo: Actor Clifton Simmons performs at The Overtime Theater in 2019. Photo: Jade Esteban Estrada.

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