top of page


JAGfest 4.0

A festival for the development of new plays by African-American playwrights in White River Junction, VT. 


February 7-8 | Briggs Opera House, WRJ

February 9 | Bentley Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts

$25 Single Tickets

$50 Pass (Briggs performances only)

PASS: Must select 1 ticket to each performance at Briggs Opera House to receive pass pricing.

Every February for the past four, JAG Productions has invited African-American theatre artists to spend a week in White River Junction, Vermont to further the development of a new play or solo performance. Over the course of the one-week residency, three-five projects receive an intensive workshop, constructive feedback, and a staged reading for the public at Briggs Opera House!

JAG Productions is pleased to announce JAGfest 4.0, the fourth annual festival of new works in African-American theatre! Presented February 7-9 at Briggs Opera House in WRJ & Bentley Theater at Hopkins Center for the Arts - the weekend-long festival of staged readings brings 30 Black theatre artists to the Upper Valley from across the nation for a week-long JAG experience! JAGfest 4.0 will include five staged readings over the course of three days, each featuring a post-show conversation with the artists.




Isaiah Hines

headshot. summer '19. .JPG

Jeremy O' Brian


Johnny G. Lloyd

Sheldon Shaw Headshot .JPG

Sheldon Shaw

Keelay Gipson.jpeg

Keelay Gipson

JAGfest 4.0 | (Re)surface : A Poetics of Fish/Flesh

Written by Isaiah Hines

Run time: 30 minutes 


Friday, February 7, 7:30PM

Briggs Opera House

Synopsis: (Re)surface : A Poetics of Fish/Flesh is best understood as a a kind of ‘body drama’—a form of expression that incorporates poetry, prostheses, gesture, and jazz—cleaving a critical site/ space for exploring questions of blackness and being. writing after Ntozake Shange, isaiah draws upon her conception of the ‘choreopoem’ and ‘a poetic imperative’. in this solo performance piece isaiah considers the junctures, lacunae, and ambiguities that give form/texture to black queer disabled existence, thinking through the dramas of mundane life using notions of embodiment, agency, madness, speech, refusal, refuge, and unfreedom. ‘(re)surface’ functions as a living-moving cartography, attempting to map the oscillating processes of making and unmaking my Self—fleshing out the rituals of dis/embodiment thru movements that both counter-invest in the black queer body as a site of possibility and gesture toward more ethical and pleasurable modes of being in and with the world.

isaiah a. hines creates poetic works that consider interstitial space: loopholes, thresholds, intervals, and quietudes of the black mundane and queer quotidian. Their practice can be understood as a kind of welding together of text, performance, installation, video, and found objects. through ongoing experimentation with gesture, sound, and site, these kinetic/zoetic works offer pathways for rethinking routine scenes of stillness, silence, and repose. their practice is preoccupied with the question of scale, striving to undo assumptions about the provincialism and narrowness of black feeling, black talk, and black judgement. attending to the ‘small’ dramas of words and bodies makes possible a recalibration of ethical/spatial relations—articulating and privileging the conceptual rigors of black queer life & work, the dimensions of their existence in the world, their contributions, and their ways of making and doing. born & raised in Vermont, isaiah’s work has a particular investment in the Black outdoors, black environmentalisms, geographies and ecologies; an effort at rhapsodizing the monumentality of everyday black rural life. 

JAGfest 4.0 | A Curious Thing; or Superheroes K'ain't Fly

Written by Jeremy O'Brian 

Directed by Tyler English-Beckwith

Run time: 90 minutes 


Friday, February 7, 8:00PM

Briggs Opera House

Synopsis: Virgo and Aries are just past the newlywed stage when they start to reconsider their plans to become parents. As they ask the hard question they uncover deep-seated fears. a curious thing; or superheroes k’ain’t fly is an animated and erratic play exploring the universal question of parenthood in a world laden with danger.

jeremy o’brian is a Mississippi-born, Brooklyn-based playwright who currently teaches writing and dramatic literature at The New School's Eugene Lang Liberal Arts College and New York University. He is the recipient of Liberation Theatre Playwriting Residency Fellowship (2019), Athena Theatre’s Athena Writes Playwriting Fellowship (2018), and the Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voice in Playwriting Fellowship (2016). His plays include: egg; or anythin’ dipped in egg gone soften (Development: Athena Theatre), a curious thing; or superheroes k’ain’t fly (Development: American Academy of Dramatic Arts), and under one roof (Development: Liberation Theatre Co.). jeremy holds a Masters in African and African Diaspora Studies from UT-Austin and a BA from Tougaloo College.  

JAGfest 4.0 | The Problem with Magic, Is: 

Written by Johnny G. Lloyd 

Run time: TBD


Saturday, February 8, 2:00PM

Briggs Opera House

Synopsis: After the death of their mother, Jodie goes back home to help her brother, Clarence, run the family magic shop. But as the pressure mounts, they find themselves dealing not only loss and new responsibility but also the forces of gentrification – and, perhaps, a malevolent snake deity called forth during a magic spell gone wrong. Will the magic shop and its owners find solid ground or will the business, the family, and the neighborhood get literally swept away by the currents of time? THE PROBLEM WITH MAGIC, IS is a fantastical exploration on family, gentrification, time, and what it means to be home.

Johnny G. Lloyd is a New York-based writer and producer. As a playwright, his work has been produced by and developed at The Tank, The Corkscrew Festival, The Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, 59E59, Dixon Place, Judson Memorial Church, Theatre Lab at Florida Atlantic University, Fringe NYC and more. Johnny is a member of the 2019-2020 Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency. Johnny was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Open-Application Commission at Clubbed Thumb and the 2017-2018 Shubert Fellow for Playwriting at Columbia University. He is the producing director of InVersion Theatre.

JAGfest 4.0 | Cntrl+Alt(Right)Del 

Written by Sheldon Shaw

Directed by Kambi Gathesha

Run time: TBD


Saturday, February 8, 7:30PM

Briggs Opera House

Synopsis: A white woman who attends The University of Texas brings her black African boyfriend home to meet her family for the first time. The woman’s family, her father, uncle, and aunt(from her deceased mother’s side) live and run a trailer park in Port Authur, Texas. When the family and new boyfriend meet, there is a race and culture clash with twists and turns and a big family secret unearthed, rehashed, and finally dealt with, sort of...

Sheldon Shaw is a playwright, screenwriter, and actor living in NYC. Recently Sheldon's play "Jailbait" was part of the Emerging Artist Theaters New Works Festival. His play "Clair" had a reading by the Classical Theater of Harlem as part of their "Playwrights Playground." "Clair" was a Second Rounder of The Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference. Sheldon's play "Baby Starbucks" was winner of The Playwrights on Parade yearly competition, North Carolina. "Baby Starbuck" was chosen for The Rooted Theater Company's Symposium in Brooklyn, NYC. Sheldon's screenplay 'Glen' was winner of Black Screenplay Matter screenplay competition and finalists in The New York Screenplay Contest. Sheldon has a BA from Temple University. He was chosen to be apart of Playwrights Intensive at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC under the tutelage of Gary Garrison, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Caleen Jennings, and Mark Bly. He studied playwriting at the Labyrinth Theater Company, NYC, under the guidance of Martha Wollner. 

JAGfest 4.0 | Demons

Written by Keelay Gipson

Directed by Keelay Gipson

Run time: TBD


Sunday, February 9, 5:00PM

Bentley Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts

Synopsis: A Family. Drama. 

When the death of The Patriarch brings a family home, they must reckon with the manifestations of grief and the haunting, sometimes otherworldly, realities that death can often bring to the surface. Demons. is a magical meditation on getting older, the reality of losing your parents, inherited trauma, and that ever elusive attempt at living up to your family’s idea of what your legacy will be.

Keelay Gipson  is an Activist, Professor, and award-winning Playwright whose plays include imagine sisyphus happy (Finalist; Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, P73 Summer Residency at Yale University), #NEWSLAVES (Finalist; Princess Grace Award, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwright Conference), CRH, or the placenta play (Semi-Finalist; The O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost, Or How to Just B, What I Tell You in the Dark (Finalist; Premiere Stages), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friedrich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Lambda Literary). His work has been seen/developed at Victory Gardens, the Wild Project, Poetic Theater Productions, HERE Arts Center, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, Pace University, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, The University of Houston, The National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. He is the recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Founders’ Award, the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73, Dramatist Guild Foundation and Playwrights’ Realm.  He has held residencies with the MacDowell Colony, New York Stage and Film, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York, and the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York. 

JAGfest 4.0 is made possible by...

Joyful Living Fund

Trumbull House Bed & Breakfast

bottom of page