One of the things I love about Blackboard is how stories from the community are being told. It can seem like a slogan or branding, saying something like stories from the community, but as playwrights pull from the world around us, it really is beautiful to see how this medium is a tool for social justice and how these stories can teach their audiences.
As we are raising funds for our 10th Anniversary, we’re taking a moment to highlight what we have been doing over the last 10 years.
How exactly have the plays or screenplays within our series been addressing current problems from their writers’ communities ? … What exactly are we talking about when we say that?
Here’s an example…
In May 2015, Tarana Peaches came to us through former Co-Curator, Almeria Campbell. She had a screenplay, “Blame the Teachers” that we loved and featured. The synopsis: After winning the lottery all of the teachers at Barack Obama High quit, except for one sorry teacher who got so distracted by her students that she forgot to play. Now feeling like she has nothing left to lose, this renegade teacher is determined to teach her misbehaving students a lesson they’ll never forget.
It was a great evening and Tarana left with notes for her next step.
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She returned to several community nights in 2016 and 2017 with new pages and a plan.
“Blame the Teachers” became “Teacher Problems” a web series created by Tarana Peaches.
There are a currently 3 episodes on YouTube and we are so pleased to see how this series (Produced by former co-curator Almeria Campbell and directed by former feature Turron Kofi Allyene) has gone on to various festivals around the country. It features LaChrisha Brown, who was gracious enough to share how she came to the project with us for our 10th Anniversary fundraiser.
Fast forward to June 6, 2018 and a piece on Vice News interviewing 18 teachers in Oklahoma who have called it quits. One of the things that stuck out to me was the lack of resources from the Board of Education in Oklahoma and the fictional Board of Education in Teacher Problems. While Teacher Problems by Tarana Peaches is a comedic take on the issues facing teachers today, the seriousness of the problems in many classrooms across America is felt in the series and only emphasized by the Vice report below.
I hope that Blackboard is around for years to come. But we can only achieve that goal with your support. We have more writers to feature who are dramatizing vital stories from around America and the African Diaspora. It has been a joy to give these writers the stage for a night over the last 10 years.
Founder – Blackboard Plays