In 2020, the messages of Black playwrights resonated with unprecedented urgency. OnyxFest 2020 featured six one-act productions by local Black playwrights. For the first time, all OnyxFest performances were recorded by WFYI-TV for broadcast.
Starting February 1 through February 28, 2021, all six productions of OnyxFest 2020 are available to watch for free.
The first involvement of the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI in OnyxFest came in 2019. That was the year that all three plays emanated from the Downtown Indianapolis urban university campus family.
IUPUI graduate RaeVen Rigdell wrote and directed Bethel. Africana Studies associate professor Dr. Abdul-Khaliq Murtadha produced “The People Speak.” Vernon A. Williams of the Office of Community Engagement wrote and produced “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story.”
That 2019 introduction encouraged ARTI to partner with IndyFringe in sponsoring Onyxfest 2020 before assuming full responsibility for staging the 2021 version of the state’s first and only theater festival for Black playwrights which took place in October 2020.