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When it opens May 24, the 2016 Intiman Theatre Festival – in its fifth year – will place the greater Seattle area in the center of the national conversation about race and equity with a spotlight on Black women playwrights.

Festival passes are now on sale for a lineup that includes Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly (May 24-June 19) and Alice ChildressWedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White (Sept. 6-Oct. 2).

The Festival also will feature the second year of its emerging artist program (June 27-Aug. 12). In an effort to diversify the theatre industry,  30 local artists will be selected for free professional training and development as they participate in a culminating showcase of Adrienne Kennedy’s work.

According to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Russell, “We’re having critical conversations right now – locally and globally – about race and equity; how we see ourselves and others, how we communicate across our differences, how we develop empathy and compassion for others.”

Having garnered more than $75,000 from 500-plus donors in two weeks for its online fundraising campaign, Intiman – with a 40-year history – demonstrates the appetite for such stories and artists.

The co-curator of the Festival is Valerie Curtis-Newton, head of acting, and director at University of Washington’s School of Drama and founder of theatre lab The Hansberry Project. “We believe that the stories these writers tell are important for everyone to hear. And we are just brave enough and just crazy enough to take the leap,” she said.

Additional Festival events include:

  • Can You Hear Me Now? Plays by Black Women (July 12-16): A reading series of contemporary plays by Dominique Morisseau, Mfonsio Udofia, Tanya Barfield and Shontina Vernon as well as a sampler of work from Seattle-based writers.
  • Untamed – Body, Hair Attitude (July 17-18): An evening of short plays presented by The Hansberry Project on themes of beauty, image and representation. Curated by Morisseau, works by Chisa Hutchison, Cori Thomas, Lenelle Moise, Jocelyn Bioh and Nikkole Salter will be featured.
  • Black Women Wisdom (Sept. 23-25): A private summit for the participants with a public conversation facilitated by Curtis-Newton.

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