Center Theater Group Announces Six Non-Binary or Female-Identifying Black Playwright Commissions
The Center Theater Group announces six new commissions as an extension of Not a Moment, But a Movement initiative created to amplify, center and celebrate black voices. In collaboration with the Fire This Time Festival and the Watts Village Theater Company, the Center Theater Group has commissioned six black non-binary or female-identifying playwrights – Aziza Barnes, Geraldine Elizabeth Inoa, Roger Q. Mason, Tahirih Moeller, Cynthia Grace Robinson and t .tara turk-haynes.
Launched in January 2021, Not a Moment, But a Movement began as a Digital Stage series, with each episode featuring the work of multiple artists from varying disciplines. Each of the artists offers their own distinct voice that blends, builds on, and sometimes collides with the other voices to create a unique piece that centers conversations that have long been held on the periphery. Commissioning new works from black, non-binary, female-identifying playwrights, Not a Moment, But a Movement presents new plays by exciting voices that will help chart the future of American theater.
“We are all thrilled to collaborate with these six incredible playwrights,” said Tyrone Davis, Associate Artistic Director of Center Theater Group. “As an organization, we are committed to amplifying more voices of black artists, and our Not a Moment, But a Movement initiative is one of the ways we honor that commitment. I would like to thank Jeremy O. Harris and members of our LA theater community for the meaningful conversations that have strengthened our commitment to this new cohort of female-identifying, non-binary playwrights. It is through these ongoing conversations and the exciting new work that will flow from these commissions, as we continue to bring the theater into the future.”
Center Theater Group, one of the nation’s leading arts and culture organizations, is Los Angeles’ premier nonprofit theater company, which, under the direction of Managing Director/CEO Meghan Pressman and Production Manager Douglas C Baker, and in conjunction with the five Associate Artistic Directors, Luis Alfaro, Lindsay Allbaugh, Tyrone Davis, Neel Keller, Kelley Kirkpatrick, program seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600-2,100-seat Ahmanson Theater. at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, and at the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the widest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, the Center Theater Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premieres and a leader in programs. interactive community engagement and education sessions that span all generations. , demographics and circumstances to serve Los Angeles.
Aziza Barnes (Aziza/Z/they) is black and lively. Z’s play “BLKS” won the 2020 Antonyo Award for Best Play and was nominated for Best Play by the Lucille Lortel Awards. Z’s NANA play, commissioned by Williamstown, was the subject of a workshop at Sundance Theater Labs in 2020. Z is thrilled to be part of this cohort at CTG.
Geraldine Elizabeth Inoa (her) is a playwright and screenwriter. His play “Scraps” had its world premiere at New York’s Flea Theater as part of its 2018/19 season. “Scraps” had its West Coast premiere at the Matrix Theater in Los Angeles in the summer of 2019. In 2021, “Scraps” was acquired for licensing and will soon be released by Dramatists Play Service. As a playwright, Geraldine is an alumnus of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group and the first recipient of the Shonda Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission. She is a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, a finalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship, and a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award. His work has been developed at the Atlantic Theater Company, Labyrinth Theater Company and Victory Gardens Theater and has been hailed in the New York Times article, “12 Streamable Plays That Depict Black Lives Pierced by Racism” as “compelling [and] straddling genres.” TV credits include AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and CW’s “Charmed.” She has a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and is a scholarship Millennium Gates.
Roger Q. Mason (they/them) was recently touted by The Brooklyn Rail as “quickly becoming one of the most important playwrights of the decade”. Their playwriting has been seen on Broadway in Circle in the Square (Circle Reading Series); Off and Off-Off-Broadway at the MCC Theater with Carnegie Hall, La Mama ETC, New York Theater Workshop, New Group, The Fire This Time Festival, Dixon Place, American Theater of Actors, Flea Theater and Access Theater; and regionally at the McCarter Theatre, Center Theater Group, Victory Gardens, Chicago Dramatists, Steep Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse, Theater Rhinoceros, Open Fist Theater Company, EST/LA, Coeurage Theatre, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Son of Semele and Skylight Theatre. Roger is a Kilroys list winner; the Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award; Featured Fire This Time Alumni and Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Producers Award. Mason’s films have been recognized by the British Film Institute Flare Festival, Lonely Wolf International Film Festival, SCAD Film Festival, AT&T Film Award, Atlanta International Film Festival, Webby Awards and Telly Awards. They have screened at the British Film Institute Flare Festival, Lonely Wolf International Film Festival, Inside Out Festival (Toronto), SCAD Film Festival, Hollyshorts, Outfest and Outfest Fusion, Bentonville Film Festival, at the Outshine Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival. Mason is a graduate of Princeton University, Middlebury College and Northwestern University. They are members of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers’ Group and Primary Stages Writing Cohort, an alumnus of The Fire This Time festival, co-host of Sister Roger’s Gayborhood Podcast, and Senior Mentor of the Shay Foundation Fellowship. and the New Visions Fellowship. Instagram: @rogerq.mason
Tahirih Moeller (her) is a writer-doodler from Long Beach, CA who has worked with theater companies such as Greenway Court Theatre, Long Beach Playhouse, and PlayGround-LA. His works include “Actually Oranges (When life hands you lemons)”, a surreal comedy about a man who turns into orange juice, and “Heroes of the West”, a Western parody following two cowgirls struggling with misogyny. Outside of acting, Tahirih has been a lifelong cartoon enthusiast, currently studying animation in hopes of merging her two loves: drawing and writing. Some of his notable achievements include second place at the 2016 Hip Hop Theater Creator Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for his play “A Live Mixtape”. She was also playwright-in-residence with the California Repertory at her alma mater California State University, Long Beach. In 2019, she was featured in American Theater Magazine’s Role Call Series as “People to Watch”. Tahirih hopes to continue creating art that is not only entertaining but also empowering.
Cynthia Grace Robinson’s stories explore the resilience and strength of the human spirit. Her work centers on people of color, especially black women, highlighting the complexity, diversity and beauty of their lives. She uses her writer’s platform to amplify social justice issues, inspire activism, and give voice to people we rarely see represented on stage and screen. Robinson’s pieces have been produced in the United States and around the world. Works include “Freedom Summer” (North Carolina Black Repertory Company); “Dancing On Eggshells” (The Billie Holiday Theater); “Peola’s Passing” (New Perspectives Theater Company; Teatro Alternativo Festival, Bogota, Colombia); “When Night Falls” (semi-finalist by Eugene O’Neill; developed at the Rising Circle Theater Collective/INKtank Play Development Lab); “Gold Star Mother” (EstroGenius Festival); “Ascension” (National Black Theater Festival; New York International Fringe Festival); “Thunder: A Musical Memoir” (New York International Fringe Festival); “Nightfall” (the fire festival this time); “Rome In Love” (48 Hours in…Harlem, The National Black Theater); “In This Life” (developed at Quick Silver Theater Company/Playwrights of Color Summit); “What if…?” (The Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival) Rivers Writers Unit at The Lark; Color Summit/Quick Silver Theater Company playwrights; Rising Circle Theater Collective/INKTank Residence; AUDELCO Award for Excellence in Black Theater (Nominated); Final Forty Playwright, Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play (Finalist); Inaugural Tribeca All-Access Open Stage Award Winner; IRNE Best New Game (nominated); Thomas Barbour Memorial Playwright’s Award (Finalist). Her publications include: “She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40” (Applause Theater & Cinema Books); “The Book of Estrogenius 2012: A Celebration of Female Voices” (manhattantheatresource); “We’re Not Neutral: Reset Series 2020: Collected Short Pieces” (Conch Shell Press). Service: Co-director of The Fire This Time New Works Lab, member of the League of Professional Theater Women and member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
t.tara turk-haynes (her) is a writer whose work has been featured on various stages and screens including Lower Depth Ensemble, Rogue Machine, Company of Angeles, Hip Hop Theater Festival, Actor’s Studio, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Schomburg and the Kennedy Center. She graduated from Lang College and Sarah Lawrence, who received the Lipkin Playwrighting Award. She was a Cycle of Violence Fellow at the Lower Depth Ensemble, a Van Lier Fellow at the New York Theater Workshop, a member of the Cosby Screenwriting Program, the Producers Guild Diversity Workshop, the Underwood Theater Writers Group with Julia Cho, Rinne Groff and Theresa Rebeck and Compagnie des angels of the writers group. His screenplays range from shorts to feature films. She won Best Screenplay at African American Women in Cinema and was a finalist in Urbanworld Screenplay. Also a producer, she co-produced the web series “Dîner chez Lola” featuring Tracie Thoms, Yvette Nicole Brown, Bryan Fuller and Nelsan Ellis among others. As a fiction writer, his short films and novels have appeared in various publications. She has been published in “Signifyin Harlem”, “Obsidian Call & Response: Experiments in Joy”, “Revenie: Midwest American Literature”, the international anthology “X:24”, “African Voices”, and Stress magazine. She has also been featured in Tamara Winfrey Harris’ “Dear Black Girl” and several podcasts on diversity, equity and inclusion. She has just completed a Harlem Renaissance novel and television pilot. She is a founding member of the playwright-producer collective The Temblors and was a member of the 2021 Geffen Writer’s Room.