Now in its fourth year, the competition is the brainchild of Playwright and Educator Tiffany Antone, who currently resides in Texas. This national festival of new work has a different theme each year and utilizes a peer review process to identify semi-finalists, whose short plays or monologues are then read in different cities across the country. Finalists are chosen from those events. They enjoyed a staged reading at the Los Angeles Theatre Center last year, followed by a production in Arizona in January.
In 2014, the theme was Planting the Seed, and my play OFEM, inspired by my experience as a CSA member at Blooming Glen Farm, was a finalist. It was read in Ithaca, NY, and Los Angeles before being given its premiere in Arizona. Indie Theatre Now will publish OFEM and all the finalists in an online volume of 11 plays.
This year’s theme is Outside the Lines, and my two character drama THE SHOEBOX is a semifinalist. This short play reunites two high school classmates to reminisce in a late night phone call after their homeroom teacher, a nun, has passed away. Theater Unbound in Minneapolis gave it a staged reading along with five other pieces in March. The festival is still unfolding in events across the country.
Tiffany summarizes her goals on her website: “Little Black Dress INK is an experiment in support, inspired by recent revelations in numbers on the subject of just how few female playwrights actually get produced. Through outreach, education, and producing opportunities, Little Black Dress INK strives to create more production opportunities for female playwrights while also strengthening the female playwright network.”
I have found this competition to be a highly effective and rewarding way of reaching those goals. It grows every year, and currently involves 35 new plays and over 60 artists in eight cities. 2016 submission guidelines will be posted on www.littleblackdressink.org on October 1, 2015.
Anne Hamilton has 24 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through firstname.lastname@example.org. Her play WHO’S ANDY WARHOL? was performed at The Lost Theatre in London in October, 2014. She will teach a playwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writers Conference in June 12-14, 2015.
This article also published in Anne’s Page & Stage column in the Bucks County Women’s Journal (April/May 2015 issue). www.buckscountywomensjournal.com