Hobart and William Smith Colleges hosted the fourth annual Quick Silver Theatre Company Playwrights of Color Summit in June. The Summit featured readings of four plays by solo artists Ayesis Clay, Liz Morgan, Mia Y. Anderson and Rhonda Khan.
Five HWS interns — Christopher Williams ’19, Donovan Hayden ’19, Isabel “Izzy” Ingram ’19, Maria Perez ’22 and Wren Andrews ’21 — worked at the weeklong residency. “The HWS students who intern with the Summit have transformative experiences,” says Associate Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth. “Through the collaboration, they form networking connections, learn about the realities of theatrical labor from working professionals and connect with members of the Geneva community who they may not have a chance to meet during the academic year.”
The Playwrights of Color Summit allows previously unproduced playwrights an opportunity to work exclusively on their plays and culminates in staged readings of four finalist plays. “My biggest takeaway is that there is space for more Black stories and experiences to be told on stage,” says Williams, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who graduated with a B.A. in political science and theatre, and has now returned to New York City to pursue acting, playwright and directing opportunities. “I always thought art was the best way to appeal to the emotions of an audience that doesn’t know the kinds of adversities that Black people face, so it was good to see the stories told by Black women.”
The staged plays were Sculpting Clay or How I Became the Mother of Unicorns by Clay; Deep Shit by Morgan; her, him, Prince, Michael & Marvin… by Anderson; and FOOD by Khan. Each reading concluded with a talk back conversation with the audience.
“The Playwrights of Color Summit has been an incredible and beneficial experience,” says Hayden, of Ontario, Canada, who is a fellow with the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience and involved with the Pittsburgh theatre scene. “As an aspiring director and playwright of color myself, it has been such a great opportunity to work alongside artists doing the type of work I want to do. All the pieces hold a weight and honesty that is vital for young writers to see.”
For more information on the Playwrights of Color Summit, visit https://www.quicksilvertheater.com/poc-summit