A Celebration of African American Playwrights

March 22/23/24/25 & March 29/30/31 

7th Annual OnyxFest Onyx Fest is Indianapolis' first and only theater festival dedicated to the stories of African American playwrights. The inaugural Onyx Fest in 2012, was developed in response to the lack of diversity on stage and in audiences of Indianapolis' theaters; except the IndyFringe Theater. IndyFringe has actively worked towards embracing diversity in the Indianapolis theater scene and these efforts have yielded fruit by working with African American playwrights to change the Indianapolis theatrical landscape of storytellers, actors and audiences at the IndyFringe Theater. Onyx Fest is another step towards institutionalizing the IndyFringe Theater's commitment to provide support and a performance venue that is inclusive of all playwrights who make up the Indianapolis community.

The importance of Onyx Fest: 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 Onyx Fest as a center for African American playwrights. Impact of Onyx Fest: Growth of new works, new audiences, new performing companies, new fringe festival shows. Imagine the new voices being heard – on stage in 2018.

2018 OnyxFest Events and Plays: 

Tuesday March 13 - Jabberwocky:

Hear the voices of a trio of people who witnessed Robert Kennedy’s speech in 1968 and hear the impact that historic moment had on their lives. Reflect with these witnesses on progress and struggles for racial and civil equality over the last 50 years since the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King.

March 22-March 31 OnyxFest Plays:

Dear Bobby: The Musical Playwright: Angela Jackson Brown Lyrics: Music: Peter Davis

Judith Rosenstein and Annabelle Strong are two twelve year old girls from opposite sides of Indianapolis but their stories are similar. Both girls are growing up without their mothers and both have two very loving fathers and brothers.This play explores the very real struggles and successes of the Jewish community and the black community to unite as one in Indianapolis during this time. It explores in a larger scope, the tumultuous times everyone was living through as they watched in horror the assassination of their leaders.

“Take My Hand” (A Blues Man’s Path to Gospel) Playwright: Lillie Evans 

Thomas Dorsey, a self confident composer and self-taught pianist is determined to make his mark. In his early twenties he was well on his way to being one of the most prolific composer in blues history and was sought after by some of the top blues artist of his time. But, what's gospel have to do with it? His vision is to marry church music with blues rhythms—it was called gospel. Pressured by those around him, he is unable to choose between the blues he loves and the secular music he was striving to change. The answer comes at a heavy price but heralds a song that anointed Dorsey as the “father of gospel music.”
Lillie Evans - Biography

Lillie Evans is a playwright, author and storyteller. Her plays include Grandmothers, Incorporated, which enjoyed at twelve week Off Broadway run and produced by the Billie Holiday Theater; Stakeout (both with co-writer Crystal Rhodes), and Is God Calling My Name? Her play Take My Hand was selected for a reading at the prestigious National Black Theater Festival.  Visit her at www.lilliebarnettevans.com or www.grandmothersincorporated.com
email:  Lbarnettevans@gmail.com

Forever More  Playwright: Lanetta Overton

The holidays are quickly approaching, and the Moore family is planning to visit with one another. Ruby and Michael are anticipating the arrival of their three beloved sons. Tyrique is the eldest son, he is a lawyer who has worked hard to make partner at Lax and Chism Law firm. He’s in the right business, but he may soon need a lawyer of his own. Trent is the middle son who is currently in his last year at Notre Dame, his passion is football, but he has a love for something else which could lead to his demise. Lastly, the youngest son Jywan is a military man that has not always had a voice, but is in desperation of trying to be heard. The Moore’s will share more than good food and laughs over the holiday. It’s time for this family to show they will be there for one another despite the odds they may face.


2019 OnyxFest - Dates TBA 

Enter here - 2 weekends/2 theatres

IndyFringe Basile and Indy Eleven Theatres.

Applicatons Open :          November 1, 2018  Juried Festival    

Applications Close:         TBA   

Playwrights notified:       TBA

Revisions Due:                TBA

What is OnyxFest?

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.

OnyxFest is Indianapolis' first and only theatre festival dedicated to the stories of 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 number of shows and performance slots varies from year to year.