New Works Pipeline

Cast of Marlow Wyatt’s Robbin From the Hood. Photo by Kenisha Gill.

Our New Works Pipeline is an annual series of curated events centered around the reading of new Black plays, in partnership with local Black-owned businesses.

The Problem

The majority of fully-produced Black plays in Los Angeles, and in the country, happen inside predominantly white institutions. This is largely due to systemic barriers and discriminatory practices that impede access to the type of support which would help Black theatres obtain organizational resilience. California’s AB5 law has compounded the challenges many L.A. Black theatre companies face when looking to mount a full production of a play. This additional financial hurdle, along with the new Covid-19 protocols, may prove too steep for some of our theatres to obtain/secure artists, maintain high production values, and reach their desired outcomes.

The Purpose

In light of this, our goal is to support Black artists and Black institutions in a way that would lead to greater opportunity and increased capacity. We are incentivizing Black work being fully-produced inside Black theatres to make Black theatres as attractive, if not more attractive, to our artists for the development of their work.

The Process

Support Black Theatre’s New Works Pipeline is an annual series of curated events centered around the reading of new Black plays. These public readings of work by L.A. Black playwrights will serve as an introduction to the pieces for our local Black producing entities. Each featured play comes with up to $10,000 dollars in funding for any local Black theatre/company who commits to mounting a full production of the piece (in accordance with the playwright’s approval), with the stipulation that said funds be used to pay Black artists- actors, playwright, stage managers, designers, dramaturgs, etc.- in the subsequent production. It is our hope that this will help ease the burden of AB5 and provide support to both Black artists and Black institutions, alike.

The People

SBT’s New Works Pipeline events will also be an opportunity for relationship building and greater collaboration within the L.A. Black community. Each event will take place at a Black-owned venue, and incorporate a Black food truck/restaurant, Black vendors, a Black DJ, Black event photographer, etc. As we generate cultural capital, we create a thriving Black ecosystem of interconnectedness where Black theatre is at the center of community service.

The Pipeline

This new model keeps decision making power with Black artists and Black theatres, decreases the appropriation of Black narratives at PWI’s, employs Black artists, and establishes cycles of content and teams of collaborators aimed at serving Black audiences and institutions, while simultaneously pouring into L.A.’s Black economy.

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Support Black Theatre’s New Works Pipeline is generously supported by The Black Seed.

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