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

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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 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.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “MAJESTIES” by Charla Booth. Three Black women from three generations meet on a journey to discover themselves and their worth.
  • “POLICE STATE” by Rain Wilson. A young Black Man with so much promise has lost his life to police brutality and in the midst of community organizing being led by the younger brother – the father decides that its not enough – and there must be a different road chosen this time.
  • “YOUR LOVE WILL BE JUDGED” by Gabrielle Patterson. Six 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.


  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “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
  • “PIECES OF: THE MUSICAL” by Ricky Murasaki. A short musical about a young man’s journey into the afterlife.
  • “ONE” by Lanetta Overton. This play focuses on the issue of colorism within the Black community.  

“Democracy Hypocrisy” premiered at Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre Park on June 26th

Democracy Hypocrisy: The Red, White, and Blues of Freedom is a soulful, riveting one-act play written by OnyxFest’s Executive Producer, Vernon A. Williams, and featured playwrights Rain Wilson (2020 season) and Latrice P. Young (2021 season). The production came between two iconic national celebrations of “liberation,” Juneteenth, and Independence Day, offering an exhilarating and authentic portrayal of the Africana experience through spoken word, dance, music, song, and drama.

Democracy Hypocrisy: The Red, White and Blues of Freedom” playwrights are Vernon A. Williams (“Being Black” and “The Price of Progress”), Rain Wilson (“I Feed You Defiance”) and Ms. Latrice (“Fly Blackbirds, Fly/ Voices We Can’t Unhear”). Larry Brewer is choreographer.


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

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