BIPOC – 3rd Annual

We would like to acknowledge that the land we gather on is the traditional territory of the Shoshone and Bannock Peoples. 
We honor all who came before us, our own ancestors, and the Indigenous caretakers, named and unnamed, recorded and unrecorded. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work, play, and create here in this community, on this territory, and to carry on the tradition of storytelling.

Now accepting submissions for our third annual BIPOC Playwrights Festival. Selected playwrights will arrive in Boise on Sunday, August 20th, and depart Sunday, August 27th. More details are available on the application.

APPLICATION CLOSES ON Monday, May 15th at 11:59 pm MST.

Not a playwright, but would like to participate in our BIPOC Playwrights Festival? Email us and let us know how you’re interested in contributing:

BCT is proud to announce our Third Annual BIPOC Playwrights Festival!

While many people know the term, some do not: “BIPOC” stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.” Our annual BIPOC Playwrights Festival, founded in 2021 with assistance from the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, seeks to champion emerging and mid-career playwrights by connecting exceptional works with professional actors, directors, and technicians.

The festival gives playwrights of color the chance to workshop their piece during the week with a director and full cast. Hearing their words read out loud by professional actors provides valuable feedback. The festival culminates in two nights of staged readings. This experience helps inform their work, building the careers of playwrights of color, so they can keep telling their stories.

BCT is grateful for the financial support that allows this festival to bring esteemed playwrights, directors, and actors together to present stories and characters not often seen on Boise stages.

 Thank you for giving, Idaho!

Idaho Gives logo Idaho Gives was May 1-4, 2023
This year donations received during our Idaho Gives campaign will contribute to our BIPOC Playwrights Festival. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to maximize an offer from an anonymous donor to match the first the $2,500 raised at 100%! Your Idaho Gives donations and this matching gift get us over halfway to our $10,000 goal and will help house out-of-town playwrights, cover travel expenses, and provide them with stipends so they can focus on storytelling. Thank you for your kindness!

Festival Dates: August 21–27, 2023

August 1–3:

The playwrights, directors, and actors will use these first few days to workshop these brand-new plays.

August 3:

7:00 PM Playwrights Panel

As Boise’s Cultural Ambassador BCT is happy to provide free tickets to this insightful discussion with Jeanne Sakata, author of Hold These Truths, Jason Tseng, author of Fear and Wonder, and University of Idaho alum Vinecia Coleman, author of Being Black Outside (Go Vandals!) on the Morrison Center stage.

August 4:

Staged readings of new works:
2:00 PM Being Black Outside by Vinecia Coleman directed by Tanya White, Danny Peterson Theatre
7:00 PM Fear and Wonder by Jason Tseng directed by Eugene Ma, Morrison Center stage

August 5:

Staged readings of new works:
2:00 PM Fear and Wonder by Jason Tseng directed by Eugene Ma, Danny Peterson Theatre
7:00 PM Being Black Outside by Vinecia Coleman directed by Tanya White, Morrison Center stage

August 6:

2:00 PM Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata starring Ryun Yu and directed by Jessica KubzanskyMorrison Center stage
7:00 PM Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata starring Ryun Yu and directed by Jessica KubzanskyMorrison Center stage

Festival Passes are $15; individual readings are $10. All Students with a valid student ID can attend any festival event for FREE!

By Vinecia Coleman

Vee and Niecy return to their childhood home after their mother dies, just in time for the end of the world, the Apocalypse, to begin. While remembering the past and debating the future, the sisters meet their mother’s neighbor and are forced to contend with what it means to be Black… outside.

Vinecia Coleman
Playwright / Being Black Outside

Vinecia Coleman is a playwright and actor based in the Twin Cities. Her plays have been developed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, id Theater’s Seven Devils Playwrights’ Conference, Mad Cow Theater, and others. Her awards include Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Mentorship Finalist, Illinois State University’s Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative Finalist, KCACTF National Partners of American Theatre nomination (The Red Pen), KCACTF invited production and John Cauble Short Play award national semifinalist (Home: The Place Where My Stuff Resides), and John Cauble regional semifinalist (But What Am I?). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Iowa State University and a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Dramatic Writing and Directing from the University of Idaho.

Tanya White
Director / Being Black Outside

Tanya White is currently the artistic director at Santa Monica Repertory Theater. Her directing credits include Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris and The Revolutionists by Lauren Gundersen. As an adjunct faculty member of the Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts (AMDA), she’s directed Ruined by Lynn Nottage, Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimke, and Trifles by Susan Glaspell. Tanya is an accomplished playwright and poet. She is a 2018 and 2022 Santa Monica Fellow and is working on her fourth play 7 Conversations About Slavery.

Chanel Bragg
“Niecy” / Being Black Outside

Chanel is ecstatic to be a participant in the 2nd Annual BIPOC Playwrights Festival! Chanel was last seen playing Vera Douglas in Justice the Musical with Arizona Theatre Co. Bragg’s most notable performance credits include Frenchie in Cabaret and Alma Hix in The Music Man at ATC. Regional credits include Stick Fly (Director), Enferma (Director), Click Bait (Director), Ms. Fleming in Heathers, Effie in Dreamgirls, Pat in Kinky Boots, Medda Larkin in Newsies, Justice in Rock of Ages, and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. Other credits include: The Wolves (Director), Hair (Director), The Piano Lesson (Director), Joanne in Rent, Ruth in Raisin in the Sun, Mrs. Mueller in Doubt, and Dorothy in The Wiz. Bragg is Associate Artistic Director for Arizona Theatre Co, Founder of United Colours of Arizona Theatre, Producer of The Alexander Project, and The Soul of Broadway Cabaret. She performs vocals with The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

Shonda Royall
“Vee” / Being Black Outside

Shonda Royall is an Actress who hails from the Windy City of Chicago. Shonda studied Theatre at Chicago State University, where she received her BFA. Now an Arizona resident, Shonda has worked with the 24 Hour Plays, performing a newly crafted work titled Battle Royall. Shonda was also cast in Virtual Theatre of Arizona’s production American Folklore; an endurance-based theater piece that ran for 6 hours straight. Most recently, Shonda performed in the ATC produced production of  Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and Stray Cat Theatres’ production of Sheepdog.  Shonda is excited to join this amazing production Being Black Outside.

Marissa Price
“Neighbor” / Being Black Outside

Marissa Price is a Boise-born actress who spent some artistically formative years acting in Seattle before returning to her hometown to start a family. A self-described Jill-of-All-Trades, Marissa is an actress, mother, clothing designer, real estate agent, craftaholic, fitness fan, and all-around maker-of-things. Thank you for giving your time and support to BCT!

By Jason Tseng

Jabez and Ryan, two boys of color, meet at a predominantly white Christian summer camp in the sweltering summer of 2003. Their friendship quickly grows into a budding romance that they try to keep alive after returning home. Their feelings for each other are complicated by their parents, their faith, and the hazards of landline phones.

Jason Tseng
Playwright / Fear and Wonder

Jason Tseng is a queer, non-binary Chinese-American playwright based in New York City, originally hailing from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Their plays have been presented and developed by Flux Theatre Ensemble, Judson Arts, Mission to dit(Mars), Theatre COTE, Inkubator Arts, Second Generation, Downtown Urban Arts Festival, and LA Queer New Works Festival. They are a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble, a member of The Civilians’ 2019/2020 R&D Group, a member of Mission to dit(Mars)’s Propulsion Lab, and their plays have been honored as Semi-finalists for the New American Voices Playwrights Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference. Jason’s full-length plays include Rizing (World Premier, Flux Theatre Ensemble), Like Father, Same Same, Ghost Money, Fear and Wonder, and The Other Side.

Eugene Ma
Director / Fear and Wonder

Eugene Ma is an international multidisciplinary theatre-maker, educator, and artistic director for TRADE CO. Trained primarily as a director, he has helmed works ranging from linear plays and musicals to the more experimental and interdisciplinary; and has developed new works with Lisa Clair, Cherry Lou Sy, Mike Lew, Shane Sakhrani, Ella Rose Chary and Sooyeon Lee. From 2016 to 2018, he was appointed resident director at The Flea Theatre (NY). As an actor, Eugene performed under Tony-winning Mary Zimmerman and auteur Stan Lai at venues such as Theater for a New Audience, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Rep, Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep, and the Wallis Annenberg. Eugene Ma is also a Drama Desk-nominated composer and a lauded acting teacher. He apprenticed at the Yale School of Drama and at the Juilliard School under Christopher Bayes. Eugene has served on faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate Acting Program, Yale School of Drama, and Harvard TDM; and has coached on a number of movies and series in Asia. More recently he has been teaching at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) in Toronto and at the Hong Kong Baptist University. NYU Tisch Alum. Proud AEA member.

Rick Burkhardt
Musical Director / Fear and Wonder

Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning composer, performer, playwright, and director whose original music, theater, and text pieces have been performed in over 40 US cities, as well as in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Taiwan. As a singer/songwriter, he has shared stages with artists such as Pete Seeger, the Indigo Girls, Utah Phillips, Holly Near, Charlie King, and Peter Yarrow, and his original songs have aired nationally on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and Pacifica’s “Democracy Now.”

Samuel Im
“Jabez” / Fear and Wonder

Sam Im is a New York-based actor and director. Performance credits include Romeo and Juliet (The Woolgatherers), the hollower (New Light Theater Project), and Distant Observer (La MaMa). BFA: NYU. MFA Candidate at The Juilliard School.

Johnathan Dougan
“Ryan” / Fear and Wonder

Johnathan Dougan is a proud Brooklyn native. With a start in church, he began singing for the congregation for a number of years. Shortly after, he studied classical voice at LaGuardia High School in NYC. Following graduation, Johnathan became a theatre major (BFA) at Brooklyn College and has enjoyed his time and journey at both institutions. As a lover of stories, he is always excited to be a part of a great storytelling project, that is bound to touch an audience. He is beyond excited to be a part of the Second Annual BIPOC Theatre Festival with Boise Contemporary Theater!

Leta Harris Neustadter
“Mother”/Stage Directions / Fear and Wonder

Leta Harris Neustaedter has been performing in the Treasure Valley for decades on stage and film, but she actually wears many hats including: an arts educator beret, a performing artist fascinator, a writer’s fedora, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker cloche, and a racial justice hard hat. She created the radio show “The Lovely Afro” to amplify the voices and experiences of the BIPOC community and has aired more than 90 interviews to date.  Stay tuned for podcast edits of those interviews this fall. This past year she was in Priscilla Queen of the Desert with Alley Repertory Theater, finally performed her bucket list role as the Witch in Into The Woods, participated in the Seven Devil’s Playwrights conference in McCall Idaho and is thrilled to join BCT for the second annual BIPOC Playwrights Festival. 

By Jeanne Sakata

Hold These Truths is based on the incredible true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, whose defiance of the internment order catapulted him into a 50-year journey of conscience to protect the Constitution from a country that viewed him as the enemy. Hold These Truths was inspired by many hours of interviews conducted by playwright Jeanne Sakata with Mr. Hirabayashi as well as numerous primary sources from his life.
”A gripping story about a shameful chapter of our history, when the United States government looked at its own people and saw the enemy.”
–New York Times
“A play where one man’s singular story, so full of heart and heartbreak, can speak to the struggles of an entire nation.”
–New York Theatre Review

Jeanne Sakata
Playwright / Hold These Truths

Jeanne Sakata’s celebrated solo play Hold These Truths won accolades in 2019 at San Diego Rep and Barrington Stage after extended 2018 runs at Arena Stage and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Hold These Truths is inspired by the true story of Japanese American civil rights giant Gordon Hirabayashi, to whom President Obama posthumously awarded in 2012 a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Jeanne’s latest work, For Us All, is a radio play commissioned by LA Theatre Works and inspired by the 1980’s coram nobis legal battle of Fred Korematsu, which was broadcast on radio in 2021.

Jessica Kubzansky
Director /Hold These Truths

Jessica Kubzansky is a champion of artistic innovation, and the artistic director Boston Court Pasadena, a theatre primarily dedicated to adventurous new work. She is also an award-winning director working locally and nationally on new works, classics, and exciting new adaptations of classics. Jessica’s had the privilege of developing and directing the world premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths with Jeanne and Ryun Yu at East/West Players, and has directed many subsequent productions, including at the Pasadena Playhouse, Arena Stage, ACT (Seattle), Portland Center Stage, San Diego Rep and more. Recently directed for Boston Court: the world premieres of Kit Steinkellner’s Ladies, Sarah B. Mantell’s Everything That Never Happened, Stefanie Zadravec’s Colony Collapse, RII (her own three-person reenvisioning of Shakespeare’s Richard II), Michael Elyanow’s The Children, as well as Luis Alfaro’s Mojada, A Medea in Los Angeles (a co-production at the Getty Villa), and the New York and world premieres of Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch (a co-pro with Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre at the Cherry Lane). Recently elsewhere: The Father with Alfred Molina (Pasadena Playhouse), Othello (A Noise Within), Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Orange (South Coast Rep), Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird (ACT Theatre Seattle), and more. Kubzansky has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Los Angeles’ Drama Critics’ Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre.

Ryun Yu
“Gordon Hirabayashi” / Hold these Truths

Ryun originated the role of Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths at East West Players, and has since performed it at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. and at the Pasadena Playhouse. He won the Craig Noel Award for best solo performance when he performed it at the San Diego Rep. Other theater credits include How the Light Gets In (Boston Court), @TheSpeedofJake (Playwright’s Arena), and Take Me Out (Geffen Playhouse).

In TV, Ryun played the recurring character of Pastor Daniel Kwon in the FX show “Baskets” (starring Zach Galifianakis and Louis Anderson), as well as Larry on the Netflix show Fuller House. He also played DHH in David Henry Hwang’s “Yellowface”: the first adaptation of a major play for YouTube (where it can still be viewed).
Ryun has the first theater major ever awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Ian Geiberger
Sound Designer / Hold these Truths

Ian Geiberger is a classically-trained composer and fine-artist with over ten years of experience both on-stage and behind the scenes. After Ableton Live certification from Beat Lab Academy, he worked at Texino building custom Sprinter camper-vans while studying music/voice, figure drawing and architectural sketching at Pasadena City College. Recently, he worked as a voice actor and sound designer for J. Barton Mitchell’s sci-fi thriller podcast DERELICT and also as a materials manager for Lightning in a Bottle 2022 music festival. You can find him building Xerarium at Burning Man 2022 and studying Experience Design at CalArts.

What better way to adhere to BCT’s mission is to inspire our community to examine our perspectives and better understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us by creating thought-provoking stories of the human experience than by bringing new stories penned by artists from all over the country to Boise? We are committed to ensuring that all aspects of the human experience are explored on our stages.

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