Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

Actor’s Theatre Announces nuVoices 2019 Winner, Opens 2020 Submissions
Festival offers up-and-coming playwrights a chance to shine

By Elizabeth McGuire

October 4, 2019

It’s time to finish up that script you’ve been working on. Submissions are now open for the nuVoices For a New Generation play festival hosted by the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (ATC). Taking place on the Queen’s University campus, where Hadley Theater is home to ATC, the festival aims to create an outlet for emerging playwrights. The company describes the event as “a springboard to catapult new plays to the national stage”.

Martin Kettling, nuVoices coordinator, explained what aspiring playwrights are working for at the festival in a press release: “nuVoices is unique to the field in that four playwrights are invited to participate in the festival and at least one will receive a full production in the following ATC season. Since the beginning of the festival, we have produced five world-premieres. On three of those, we were able to be part of a Rolling World Premiere, where the works were produced around the country.”

Participants for nuVoices are chosen through the New Play Exchange. Interested parties are encouraged to create a profile on the digital script library that includes over 7,000 writers, 9,000 readers and 700 organizations. Once on the site, users will be able to tag plays they wish to be reviewed for the festival.

Participants at nuVoices 2019 (Photo courtesy of Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte)

In order to qualify for nuVoices, plays must meet the year’s criteria. For 2020, criteria states that a play must be written by a native of the Carolinas or be about the area by an author with a strong Carolina connection. Additionally, submissions must not have been previously performed as a professional production. ATC states that the company is “committed to developing works that represent the diversity of the community.” Past criteria have included biographies, stories focused on females, characters of color and characters on the LGBTQ spectrum.

This year’s festival will occur in July 2020, with the four selected playwrights receiving pay as well as housing and transportation. At least one participant will be granted a full production by ATC.

In September, ATC announced Ghosts of Bogota by Diana Burbano as the winner of the 2019 nuVoices Festival. The play is a story of three siblings, now in their late 20s to late 30s, who return to their parents’ birth country when their grandfather dies. Ghosts is described as “a universal story about family secrets, told through a very specific Latinx lens, and a story about the unique immigrant experience of never feeling fully at home in any country.”

Burbano, a Colombian immigrant, is an Equity actor, playwright and teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Ghosts of Bogota will receive a full production in ATC’s 2020-2021 season.

“The festival is a huge amount of work for the playwrights,” Kettling said in a separate release announcing Ghosts of Bogota’s selection. “We often talk about the number of hours our staff, actors and directors put in the week to make the festival, but the playwright’s work begins long before we gather and continues long after we part ways. This is not just generally true but happens every day of the festival. It takes tremendous effort and ingenuity to create new work from the neuron up.”

Submissions for next year’s nuVoice Festival will remain open until Oct. 31.

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