Indy’s first and only theater festival dedicated to the stories of Black playwrights.

Presented by the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (A.R.T.I.), IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, IU School of Education at IUPUI, and IUPUI Office of Community Engagement

ANNOUNCEMENT: OnyxFest playwright selections and festival expansion!

After receiving a record number of scripts for consideration, we are announcing there will be both fall and spring festivals for the state’s only theatrical showcase exclusively for Black playwrights.

Plays chosen are as follows:

FALL 2022

  • “A BLACK FATHER’S PLEA” By Curtis Drake Shepard. One mother pushes her personal convictions aside in hopes that there is one last thing that can possibly reach a son lost to the streets; A Black Father’s Plea.
  • “A NOISE IN THE ATTIC” By Vernon A. Williams. The life of a suburban housewife – neglected by her ambitious husband and disrespected by her spoiled stepdaughter – becomes even more complicated by sudden, unexplained noises in their new house.
  • “LAMENTS OF A BROWN BIRD SUMMER” By Cris Eli Blak. Tackles a subject matter that is so prevalent, and yet rarely discussed in the Black community: mental health.
  • “MAJESTIES” By Charla Booth. Three Black women from three generations – each without a man – meet on a journey to discover themselves and their worth.
  • “MERCY” By Rain Wilson. There is a school shooting and a young student who fell under the extreme influence and fear of another student, shoots a teacher.
  • “YOUR LOVE WILL BE JUDGED” By Gabrielle Patterson. 6 jurors residing in a world where divorce is only an option if a jury of your peers says so, is quite the challenge when everyone has vastly different opinions about love and marriage.


  • “ALL MONEY AIN’T GOOD” by Rosalyn Marsh. This story is about a man that is the mayor of a small town who has a girlfriend who is just like him, loud, bright, loves money (his money). Between the two of them their love (greed) for money gets them both in some pretty hot water.
  • “BLACK IS MY COLOR” by Celeste Williams. In 1989, poet/philosopher Mari Evans wrote an essay entitled, “Ethos & Creativity” for a publication edited by David Hoppe. This story tries to capture her essence.
  • “EBONY PEOPLE” by Steve Gold. A social comedy about a wealthy, aristocratic Black family in 1950s Memphis and their reaction to the nascent civil rights movement.
  • “HOUSELESS NOT HOMELESS” by Michael Florence. The story of five homeless people, how they came to be homeless and how they survive day-to-day.
  • “KUL CHA (CULTURE)” by McKenya Dilworth Smith. A story about saving a theatre which comes to represent what was good in the community; the happiness, the stories, the togetherness.
  • “PIECES OF: THE MUSICAL” by Ricky Murasaki. A short musical about a young man’s journey into the afterlife.

The first-semester presentation of “CENTERSTAGE: A Theater Workshop” hosted by A.R.T.I. on campus will feature another of the plays selected – “One” written by Lanetta Overton. This play focuses on the issue of colorism within the Black community and will be performed and produced by students.  

Dates for OnyxFest 2022 announced in the wake of record script entries

Playwrights selected for OnyxFest 2022 will be named during the first week of May.

Thank you for supporting the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (ARTI) on IU Day!

On IU Day, April 20, 2022, your thoughtful donations helped raise $2,500 to support A.R.T.I. initiatives centered around the importance of Black theater, on and off the stage! The A.R.T.I. leadership team is grateful for your support. Thank you for helping tell our stories in our voices! You are helping to keep the spotlight center stage on Black life and culture.


Indy’s first and only theater festival dedicated to the stories of Black playwrights.

OnyxFest | Cavanaugh Hall, 425 University Blvd., Room 327, Indianapolis, IN 46202 | 317-274-8710 | contact@onyxfest.com

A thank you to our sponsors: