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The Drinking Gourd Newsletter.png

It is with immense pride and a forward-looking spirit that we at JAG Productions announce an exhilarating new chapter in our journey. We have been handpicked to join the inaugural cohort of a transformative initiative — The Drinking Gourd: Black Writers at Work. This momentous project is a movement dedicated to cultivating and amplifying the voices of Black playwrights, shaping the narrative of Black stories by those who live them.

In a historic collaboration for the 2023-2024 season, esteemed institutions such as True Colors Theatre Company, The Hansberry Project, Penumbra Theatre, Hattiloo Theatre, National Black Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, and we, at JAG Productions, are honored to commission two remarkable talents: Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award Nominee James Ijames and our esteemed JAGfest alum, Gethsemane Herron. Their upcoming creations promise to be a beacon of Black artistic expression and innovation.


This project, underwritten by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts, SouthArts Foundation, and the benefactors of the Hansberry Project, promises to expand the repertoire of Black theatrical works with unyielding authenticity and artistic excellence.


Stay tuned as we unveil more about this groundbreaking endeavor. The narratives we are set to weave, the stories we are ready to tell, will echo with the depth and diversity of the African diaspora. At JAG Productions, we are not just witnessing history; we're writing it, together with you.


Join us in this celebration of artistry, heritage, and community. The journey begins now.


With anticipation and gratitude,

The JAG Team 


James IJames Drinking Gourd About the Playwright.png

JAMES is a Pulitzer Prize winning and Tony Award nominated playwright, a director and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise, a 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prize, the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama recipient and a 2023 Tony nominee for Best Play for Fat Ham. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia.

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Gethsemane Herron is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with Ars Nova, The Fire This Time Festival, The Hearth, JAG Productions, The Liberation Theater Company, The Playwright’s Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, and WP Theater. She was a 20-22 member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, a 20-22 member of the WP Lab, and a 21-22 Jerome Fellow/22-23 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwright’s Center. Winner of the Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. Winner of the 45th Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. 2022 Recipient of the Helen Merrill Award. Finalist for the Van Lier New Voices Fellowship at the Lark and the Founders Award at New York Stage and Film. MFA: Columbia University. Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. Gethsemane is currently under commission with Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, Mosaic Theater Company, and the Drinking Gourd Collective. She will work on a new play with the Playwright’s Center as a 2023-2024 McKnight Fellow. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon & other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors.

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