OnyxFest 2021

A Soulful Mosaic of Black Life on Stage


October 7, 8, 9, 10

District & Basile Theatres


October 14, 15, 16

IUPUI Campus Theatre

* OnyxFest 2021 tickets are now on sale!

Volunteer Form

Meet the Playwrights

1200 Miles from Jerome

Crystal V. Rhodes

Crystal V. Rhodes is an award-winning playwright and author.  She has served as Playwright in Residence for the Connor Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, and she is a 2019-2020 recipient of the Indiana Arts Council’s Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship for 2019-2021.

About the play:

In the 1940s during World War II, a mother, her two daughters, a young school teacher and a fourteen- year-old Japanese American fugitive from an internment camp are forced to leave the town of Jerome, Arkansas and flee over 1200 miles to New York City. The journey is filled with danger, one that could prove to be a daunting experience, in which “driving while black” could mean the difference between life and death.

Fly Blackbird Fly/Voices We Can’t Unhear

Ms. Latrice Young

Ms. Latrice Young, also known as Distinctly Unique, is a choreo-poet, ghost writer, voice actor, private ESL instructor and Creator/Manager of Dunique LLC. from East Chicago and Gary Indiana. She graduated from Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High School in 2014 as Class Poet and Valedictorian and she graduated from Purdue University- West Lafayette as a Creative Writing major with minors in African-American Studies, Communication, Dance, Spanish, & Theater.

About the play | A choreopoem:

A choreopoem recounting traumatic experiences of several Black women. Each woman is at her breaking point and desperately wants to escape the cages they’re in, but this can only happen if they’re willing to relax, relate, and release.

Ransom Place

Jameel Amir Martin

Jameel Amir Martin is a native of Indianapolis. He graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in NYC, and from the Juilliard School, where he received a Bachelors of Music. Ransom Place is his first play. 

About the play:

Two unlikely companions holding on to a precious thing, reluctant to leave a special place, must contend with forces that would spur their belated departure.

That Day in February

Janice Morris Neal
Janice Morris Neal

Janice Morris Neal is new to the Indiana playwright circuit. Since taking her first class at the Indiana Writers Center and joining a critique group through Indiana Playwright Circle she has written nearly 20 short plays and one full length.

About the play:

That Day in February explores what happens when adult children frozen by childhood trauma are faced with a life altering decision. 

This Bitter Cup

Charla Booth
Charla Booth

Charla Booth has spent the past forty years bringing other individual’s stories to life as a professional theatre director, classroom speech, education professions, and theatre instructor (Gary Emerson School for the Visual & Performing Arts and Broad Ripple Magnet School for the Arts & Humanities), lighting designer and engineer for both dance and stage, book researcher and editor, elocution coach, liturgical dancer, mime, voice over artist, and children’s acting coach for both television and film. She published her first book, a salutary for tweens in 2019 following an exclusive release of one of her short stories in a national magazine.

About the play:

A Black family in the rural south in the 1950’s struggle to find balance in their lives. A son who wants an education to rise above the limitations of the old south and a daughter whose dreams are thwarted by being Black and a woman and loved by the wrong man. A complicated entanglement that leaves us wondering if this family can find peace.

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