Established in 2011, OnxyFest is striving to become, in the words of the late playwright, August Wilson, a festival that “informs its viewers of the human condition and its power to heal.” OnyxFest is determined to be the vehicle to promote and expose avid theatre goers to the voices and talent of new and emerging African American playwrights.
Indy’s first and only theatre festival dedicated to the stories of Black playwrights. For the past decade, OnyxFest created a stage to celebrate and articulate Black life, issues and culture.
Pictured from left to right: Nicole Kearney, Dr. Abdul-Khaliq Murtadha, Pauline Moffat, and Vernon A. Williams.
Nicole Kearney is a playwright, director, and entrepreneur. She founded OnyxFest in 2011 as a joint-venture with IndyFringe Theatre. She is also the founder and owner of the award-winning company Sip & Share Wines. As her industries vary and her resume continues to blossom, Nicole has made it her mission to create community and culture-based experiences that break down barriers for both new majority and women and generate artistic expression of the finest magnitude.
OnyxFest is determined to be the vehicle to promote and expose avid theatre goers to the voices and talent of new and emerging African American playwrights.
IndyFringe developed OnyxFest in response to the lack of diversity both on stage and in audiences of Indianapolis’ theatres. IndyFringe actively embraces diversity in the Indianapolis theatre scene and began working with African American playwrights to change the Indianapolis theatrical landscape.
The Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (ARTI) participated for the first time in OnyxFest in 2019 on the leadership of founding ARTI member Dr. Abdul-Khaliq Murtadha. On returning to California the following year, Dr. Murtadha and former IndyFringe CEO Pauline Moffat asked Vernon A. Williams to assume leadership in 2020. Moffat, who recently retired from IndyFringe, proposed that ARTI assume total management of the event beginning in 2021 – a proposal to which ARTI agreed.
The importance of OnyxFest: Develop and present voices not often heard and showcase the work of established voices. Engage new and established audiences in the art and craft of production. Bring new excitement to theatre and grow OnyxFest as a center for African American playwrights.