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York College of PA Theatre to present JL Smith New Play Festival on May 4; keynote by Che’Rae Adams

April 18, 2023
Headshot of Che'Rae Adams

York College of Pennsylvania’s Theatre Program will once again produce the JL Smith New Play Festival. The Festival will put on seven 10-minute plays and take place virtually on Zoom at 7 p.m. on May 4. Admission is free, but access to a Zoom account is required. Information for the show, including the Zoom link, can be found on the York College Theatre Program’s website, and on the YCP Theatre social media sites including Twitter at @FestJL.

Che’Rae Adams will be the keynote speaker at this year’s festival. She returns to York College’s campus having previously done guest lectures in Playwriting and Modern Drama classes. Adams will discuss her career as a critically acclaimed theater dramaturg and director, and what compels her about new works. There will be an opportunity for the audience to submit questions during the talk.

Adams is the Artistic Director of PlayPenn, a new play incubator in Philadelphia. She has also been the Producing Artistic Director of the LA Writers Center, Director of Programming for the Moss Theater in Santa Monica, Development Executive for Playhouse Pictures Studios, Co-Artistic Director of the Road Theatre Company, and Managing Producer for the LA Women’s Theatre Festival. She has a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge.

Adams is the recipient of a SDC Foundation Observership award, where she shadowed James Burrows on the TV show “Will and Grace.” She has been on the Steering Committee of the Directors Lab, West for 15 years. As a producer for Directors Lab, West she has curated close to two decades of programming workshops, panels, and master classes at the Pasadena Playhouse. Adams is also an experienced public speaker and educator, having taught acting and writing workshops at various institutions around the country. She has been nominated for a Cincinnati Enquirer Entertainment Award and Backstage West Garland Critics Citations Award.

Adams is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She spent the last two years of the pandemic producing diverse online programming with HowlRound TV in response to social inequity occurring in society. She recently curated “Breathe: A BIPOC Reading Series” in response to George Floyd’s murder; “Home: Asian Voices Reading Series” to amplify Asian-American stories; and “The Voices of Afghanistan Project,” where monologues were constructed from interviews with Afghan artists in hiding.

This JL Smith New Play Festival is made possible by a multi-year donation from JL Smith, former professional actor and husband of York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith.