A Caribbean-American production company is looking for creative submissions from female playwrights of Caribbean descent, for its inaugural festival—“Hear Her Call”—featuring the work of women writers. Please note that the deadline for submissions January 13 (until 11:59pm). Here is information from an interview with Haitian-American playwright Magaly Colimon-Christopher by Caribbean Life’s Alexandra Simon.
The Queens-based company, Conch Shell Productions, is hosting their debut “Hear Her Call” festival — a celebratory event slated for March 2019, where 10-minute plays by Caribbean women are going to be performed. The festival hopes to provide Caribbean women with a platform to see their work acted out, and allow them the opportunity — which does not always come for writers of color, said the company’s artistic director.
“I think everyone knows the challenge in trying to get your work produced, so my desire was to help women writers,” said Magaly Colimon-Christopher. A self-starter herself, Colimon-Christopher, who is of Haitian descent, is an award-winning playwright. She co-founded the company with her husband to fill in the void caused the lack of plays, by and about Caribbean people, in theater. Funding a lot of her own projects, she wanted to extend that to other women who are experiencing what she did. “I have been producing my own work for years, and I decided want to honor Caribbean writers,” she said.
Female writers from or with heritage in the region, do not often get the chance to see stories that reflect them. And throughout her career in the theater industry, there is an even bigger absence of Caribbean stories from women, said Colimon-Christopher. She says those narratives rarely get told and when they are, it is usually adjusted or modified to meet a general voice. “We have our unique perspectives but I think all Caribbean people have this perspective on whether our work is American enough or if the story Caribbean enough, and we shouldn’t have to pause or hesitate about that,” she said.
In response, the company created “Hear Her Call,” and is currently encouraging writers to submit their work. The festival is offering many writers a chance to see their work performed for the first time, and observe how its interpreted through the talents of three individual actors, who will be acting. “I think it’s a really important opportunity and our whole mission is just to inspire the change, entertain, and unite everyone,” said Colimon-Christopher.
Submission requirements for the festival asks that plays are by women with heritage from the Caribbean, written in theater format, must be able to be performed in at least in 10-12 minutes, and have no more than three characters, according to Colimon-Christopher.
She hopes to accept about six to eight writers for the festival, to ensure it is 70 minutes, falling under different genres such as dark comedies, romance, historical fiction, and more.
Even though she knows that many writers who have never shared their work will hesitate to have it read or critiqued, Colimon-Christopher said this was a one-shot chance that can help writers perfect their craft, or share a snippet of a bigger project they are working on.
“Many festivals do readings but they often take full length plays,” she said. “But I purposely made it 10 minutes because it enables you to go back and rewrite with a new viewpoint and learn about your characters from an actor who is spending time rehearsing and bringing life to it.”
Make your submission to the “Hear Her Call” festival here. Deadline for submission is extended to Jan. 13 until 11:59 pm.