Stay tuned for the latest up-to-date UPU events, news and special announcements and commentary!
<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • December 18, 2014 7:19 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    My heart is beyond heavy, but heaven I know is rejoicing. One of the sweetest, most talented writers and actors I have ever met, has passed away today. I meet Vernitta at our very first conference in Orlando, FL in 2009. We all bonded so much then, we have kept in touch over the years and I knew that she was silently battling this terrible disease. She definitely fought all the way to the end. She touched many people and I am so glad she called me her mentor, even sometimes on her sick bed she would be writing., she never gave up on her dreams. 

    Vernitta we will forever hold you in our hearts and we will do everything we can to be sure your work comes to life.

    Rest Well....

    Vanessa and your UPU Family

  • September 16, 2014 10:20 AM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    I'm so happy to once again announce that Urban Playwrights United will be presenting the Short Play Competition at the Atlanta Black Theater Festival! This is our second year in a row hosting this exciting event! Last year literally was standing room only and by vote of the judges and audience participation, our own Eric Jones of Missouri City, TX took home the title! Join us for this wonderful event on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. at the Atlanta Black Theater Festival, taking place at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center located at 3181 Rainbow Dr, Decatur, GA. Get your tickets in advance! Last year was completely SOLD OUT! 

    And as a bonus! At 10:00 p.m. that same day, UPU will host a "Celebration of The Caribbean" at the festival. It's going to be a lively meet and greet with great Caribbean music, Caribbean food (complimentary) and just lots, lots of fun! Entrance is free with a ticket from any festival event! For more information on the festival or tickets visit ! Look for UPU members Nanette Hodge, Ursula Robinson, Joyce Smith and Jeanette Hill for festival performances!

    See you in the ATL!


  • September 03, 2014 4:10 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    Passion P-Say Roosevelt is a Firecracker! She goes after everything she believes in with a fiery passion! She is an advocate for women's images and self esteem and takes special interest in the plus size community and also working with young girls! Congratulate this Miami native and read all about her! 

    Writer, Director, Producer, Actress and Model and the brains behind P-Say Entertainment is Passion “P-Say” Roosevelt, a native of Miami, Florida. Passion is always aspiring to do greater things. For most people to become successful at one endeavor is an accomplishment. Although a newcomer to the world of theater, she's no newcomer to the world of entertainment. Passion is a woman of extreme creative ingenuity. It is to the credit of anyone when it can be said that they are either a playwright, singer, dancer, actress, rapper, writer, model, producer, promoter and manager. Nevertheless, Passion P-Say Roosevelt has been blessed to be one of those very rare people to be successful at all of them. Her diverse talents have allowed her to be an important figure in the entertainment industry, with a broad range of impressive credits in theater, radio, film, commercial and print. What an achievement!! Here's a young lady who believed in herself. Growing up, Passion was always told that she had a great sense of humor and was known to be very energetic about life. She won best alto singer in the school chorus and starred in the schools successful Extravaganza along side Mark "Mark Diggla' Seymour. In 1992-94, Passion helped create a rap trio called "Repo Crew'" who had a smash hit "What Your Sweating My Dazzy Dukes For?" The group toured with numerous of professional known music artist of the 90's such as 95 South, 69 Boys, Splack Pack, 2 Live Crew, TLC, Snoop Dog, Ice Cube, Disco Rick and the Dogs, Devastator, Crazy Leggs and Aim to Please, J-Shin, Creepdog, J.T. Money and the Poison Clan, Suicide, Prince Raheem, Two Trick Daddy’s and she managed the rap group Clicked Up. Passion was featured in many music videos and commercials. Passion has been performing in drama since grade school. Modeling and acting professionally was her passion but she still found interest in developing her own production company. This is a Nubian Princess with a brave, courageous and creative heart. Her goal is to get as much success as the world is willing to offer. Passion quotes, "Keep your head up so you can catch your blessings when GOD gets ready to pass them down to you." Believe and it shall be given unto you. Passiion has been an active member of Urban Playwrights United since 2011 where she attended her first conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.

  • August 06, 2014 5:33 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    Michael McCorkle (Washington D.C.) is an award winning writer, producer and director of stage plays, theater and film. He has been a director of theater and fine arts for more than nine years and an arts educator for more than ten years.

    As an educator, Michael has served as a Drama Instructor at Thomas G. Pullen Arts Magnet.  In addition, he has worked as a Teaching Artist for Young Playwrights Theater Arts in Education program.  He also serves as a Theater Studio Leader for DC’s Higher Achievement Program, a Play Writing Instructor for Arena Stage’s Student Play Writing Project and a Stage Director for Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.  

    As a producer, Michael is the Founder and Producing Director of One Stage Productions, Inc., a theater and entertainment production company for teens and adults that originated in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.

    As a writer and director, he has written and directed such stage plays as, My Life, Growing Pains: 101 and Like Father, Like Son which have been featured at the Historic Lincoln Theater, on DCTV cable television and performed regionally as a College Tour.  He has also written and directed the hit Gospel stage play, A Change Is Coming which has SOLD-OUT national tour performances and received the 2008 Velocity Magazine Award for Best Film/Stage Play.  Currently, A Change Is Coming and Home Is Where The Heart Is is on national distribution and available at various major retailers across the country.

    Currently, he is producing his first full length feature film, All The Man I Need. Michael has been a member of UPU since he attended the 2011 Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.

  • July 21, 2014 8:35 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    Urban Playwrights United presents it’s first Producers Showcase Competition that will offer the opportunity of a LIFETIME to one talented and innovative writer. 4-5 producers in various geographic locations will produce the winner’s show at their expense, the winner has to do nothing but submit a winning piece and collect a royalty percentage from the show!

    All Playwrights dream of their works being performed in various areas, but resources, finances and many hindrances stand in their way, this opportunity eliminates those barriers to offer this annual competition winner a chance to witness their works come to life on various stages!

    This is a dream come true for one very special writer and a vision come to pass for UPU. Not only do we have venue owners in our network willing to invest in anothers work, we actually are now producing content that will expose our works without the assistance of any outside promoters, it's all in house!

    We want to thank our participating producing venues, DAP Theater, The Studios at the Galaxy Theater, WOW Performing Arts Center and Mark SQuared Studios!

    This competition is open to all but UPU members are free to submit, everyone else is $25!

    Read the guidelines, submit your current work or write a new one! You do not want to miss this opportunity!

    UPU Producers Showcase Competition

  • July 01, 2014 10:32 AM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)





    UPU Member since 2012


    If you don't know anything about Evelyn "Booney" Jones-Reed, know that she is COMMITTED to spreading the good news through the arts! Her mission is to effectively communicate Gods word inside and outside of the sanctuary. To produce outstanding productions that bring the Word of God to life in a way the audience can understand and relate.

    Born in the town of Flagstaff, AZ, Evelyn discovered her gifts and talents at an early age. Born the tenth child to her late parents Anthony and Delia Mae Jones; this wife, mother of two and grandmother of three would spend hours on the back porch preaching, singing, acting and directing to the audience of her two dogs (King and Samson).

    This blessing didn't come without an obstacle, having been brutally raped at the age of five and left to die alone in a ditch, this tragedy traumatized Evelyn and she was left with a serious stuttering impairment. Having grown up in Northern Arizona in an all-white school, she refused to speak for a year after this tragedy because the children would tease her because of her stuttering.

    The school board elected to place her in "Special ED" because she refused to speak but thank God for a “ram in the bush.” There was a young teacher who challenged the school board’s decision and offered to tutor her after school. This teacher would make her “act out” and “write” what she wanted to say, which then lead her to have more confidence and she slowly begin speaking again. “The Devil tried his best to silence me and an early age, from this tragedy I learned to “act, write and use this gift for God’s glory alone.” “What the Devil meant for evil God turned it around for my good!” Now, in most of her productions, there is a character that stutters as a testimony to what God has done for her.

    From the mid-nineties until now, Booney has written over 40 original pieces of work including: I Came By Your House, A Dead Church, Angels, Beware of Creeps, Hallelujah He Reigns, Go Get Your Life Back, Children of Yesterday & ​Today, My Name Is Legion, The Ten Commandments, God's Final Judgment, Dysfunctional Family, What In Hell Do You Want?, When Hell Is A Place Called Home, Seven Women, One Man, The Seven Last Words of Christ, Creeps and Silly Women, Who In Hell Let Da Devil In Church,  The Gift and many more!

    ​Booney is a member of the Great Commission Baptist Church.  She serves in Adult Choir "VOP", A Signer on the Sign Language Ministry "Deaf Action Ministry", Creative Writer and Director for the Drama Ministry under the leadership of Dr. Douglas E. Brown,  Pastor.

    "This world is filled with so many uncertainties, but one thing I know without a doubt is that I am loved by my children, my grand-children, my adopted father and my amazing supportive husband. From them I draw my expiration and strength."

    I praise God for my salvation. I am blessed beyond measure and grateful for where this journey has taken me and excited to see what He has ahead for me. God is so awesome!!


    "Seven Last Words Of Christ"

    "The Gift" audience

    "The Gift"

    "What in the Hell Do You Want"

    E.Reed, Darrin Henson, Ann Nesby

  • June 03, 2014 10:15 AM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Toran Kelton! Hailing from Covington, Georgia, this young man of not even 30 years of age, has a resume that speaks volumes. A playwright, director, producer, actor, teacher, singer, preacher, community activist and just an all around great person! Toran has a list of plays including "My Sister Satan," "In Love with Satan," "Mama's Got a Brand New Bag, "New Rock High" and much more! Along with being an acclaimed singer, his dedication to youth and the community are amazing. With several initiatives underway such as "All Star Weekend" that showcases talented youth and brings the community together.  "Christmas in New Rock" kicked off this past Christmas season, its an evening of inspiration and talent where the proceeds go to a well deserved organization in Newton and Rockdale Communities, this year  nearly $700 was raised for Kingdom Connection Ministries. Toran has been a member of Urban Playwrights United since 2012 where he not only attended his first conference, but took home the coveted title of "Elevator Pitch Winner" and his team also won the "Two Minute Play Competition." Toran continues to stay busy and recently produced "The Wiz" with an amazing cast of youth!

    For his win as Playwright of the Month, UPU is happy to partner with Okane Media Group to build Toran a custom website to further his brand! Please leave Toran a note of congratulations and connect with him on Facebook!

  • May 28, 2014 4:30 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)
    Today the world lost a voice, but heaven gained an angel. Much more than a literary genius, writer, but she was a voice for the generations, her work and her presence have inspired and will continue to inspiration generations. There is not a day that goes by that most of us aren't quoting Maya Angelou, 'when you know better do better," "when someone shows you who they are, believe them." She has inspired millions and some of the greats. Urban Playwrights United remembers this great lady, this great legend, this icon and this voice. You will forever be in our hearts, take your rest, you have well deserved it!

  • January 14, 2014 12:45 PM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)


    UPU Invades The Festival Circuit in 2013!

    By: Ronnie J. Johnson

    Since the start of 2013, Urban Playwrights United (UPU) theater members have been living in a season of open doors. This year, a few members took theater production to a new level by participating in numerous theater festivals across the country. UPU members: Tangie Brickhouse-Beaty & Donna Johnson (Columbia, SC); Teleah Scott-Williams (Owings Mills, MD); Richard A. Bass (Detroit, MI); Karen Jethroe (Belleville, IL); Nanette Marie Hodge (Columbus, OH); Eric Christopher Jones (Missouri City, TX); Jeanette Hill (Austin, TX); and Darrell Cador (Washington, D.C.) participated in various theater festivals. They took time out of their busy schedules to sit through interviews regarding their festival experiences.

    R.J.: Greetings playwrights! I want to thank you all for participating in this interview regarding your theater festival experience. Which theater festival event did you participate in and in what city was that event held?

    Donna: WOW Productions participated in The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival in Atlanta.

    Tangie: The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival in Atlanta.

    Darrell: Our production company participated in the Atlanta Black Theater Festival in Atlanta.

    Karen: I attended the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival in Atlanta.

    Richard: I participated in the Atlanta Black Theater Festival in Atlanta.

    Eric: I participated in the Atlanta Black Theater in Atlanta.

    Jeanette: I participated in the D.C. Black Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., the Atlanta Black Theater Festival and the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival in Atlanta.

    Teleah: I participated in the One-Act Battle Competition at the D.C. Black Theater Festival in Washington, D.C.

    Nanette: I participated in D.C. Black Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., The Ohio Black Theater Festival in Columbus, OH, The National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, and The Atlanta Black Theater Festival in Atlanta.

    R.J.: Wow! There is such an array of talent being shown across the country by such great creative people. Out of all of your productions, which one did you submit to the festival events?

    Jeanette: I submitted The Best Lesson as staged reading for the D.C. Black Theater Festival and The Atlanta Black Theater Festival and also as a DVD showing at The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.

    Teleah: I submitted a short one-act play entitled The Healing Floor.

    Eric: I submitted my play Emancipation to the ABTF.

    Tangie/Donna: We submitted our stage play DVD Yesterday Is Still Gone to The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.

    Darrell: We performed a staged reading of Hands Made to Hold at the ABTF.

    Karen: My stage play DVD Where’s My Inheritance? was shown at The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.

    Richard: My stage play Entangled was performed at the Atlanta Black Theater Festival.

    Nanette: Mama’s Drama was performed at all four festivals. Additionally, my other play Suzette’s Saga was apart of the DCBTF.

    R.J. Excellent! I know that the audiences truly enjoyed every performance and viewing your shows. What attracted you or made you want to participate in the festival circuit?

    Donna: WOW Productions was attracted to the festival circuit because it was the first time the theater category was included in the film festival.

    Tangie:That’s true. We wanted to broaden our horizon with our production.

    Darrell: Our production team as a whole saw the ABTF as a grand opportunity to be amongst the best writers, directors and producers in urban theater. It was also the perfect chance to unveil Hands Made to Hold.

    Karen: Ms. Vanessa Lynn posted the information. At first, I didn’t think it was for me because of the quality of my DVD. However, she mentioned that they were looking at the storyline and not the quality of the DVD. I knew then that I should at least submit my DVD and I was very proud of my work.

    Richard: I was attracted to the festival circuit because I have never participated in a theater festival before. When I saw the opportunity, I felt led to jump and do it.

    Eric: I was excited to present a work that is a true hybrid of classical and urban theater.

    Jeanette: After last year’s UPU Conference, I decided that if I was going to be serious about my career, I needed to take steps to move to the next level. That meant getting feedback on my work on a national level. The festivals are an effective, immediate way to accomplish just that.

    Teleah: In 2011, I served as a volunteer at The D.C. Black Theater festival. So this time around, I decided to participate as a playwright.

    Nanette: I wanted to see my work performed beyond my home town to get a feel as to how it would be received by national audiences.

    R.J.: These are such great inspirational reasons to have your works displayed nationally for those who are interested in participating in festivals. What did you set out to accomplish while participating in the festival(s)?

    Teleah: My team (myself and Dyone Mitchell) under the direction of Ronald Benson-El entered into the competition to battle for the championship title. We rehearsed and made the decision to use only a few props for our script. Our props consisted of a metal wash tub, a metal bucket, a wooden scrub brush, a sleeping mat and a toy truck. We competed against other teams in the categories of drama, comedy, adult theme and anything goes. My team entered into the drama category and we had 20 minutes to perform. All the teams were good and we had some tough competition!

    Eric: We wanted to present a Broadway-style production with a Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

    Tangie: Our goal was to get others to view our shows and get outside opinions.

    Donna: Our goal was to gain exposure and have our DVD viewed by professionals in the field. It also allowed us to be able to become better as directors, playwrights and producers.

    Darrell: Aside from the obvious, our goal was to grow our network of theatre professionals while solidifying some of our existing connections.

    Karen: My goal was to get personal exposure. I needed the personal exposure of just meeting playwrights and seeing other people’s work. In the area where I live, there are not a lot of stage plays. Since I joined UPU, I really wanted to meet some of the people (especially Ms. Lynn) who I only know through Facebook. I accomplished my goal.

    Nanette: My goals were three-fold. I was curious to find out if the juried festivals would accept my work. I wanted to provide my actors with national stage exposure. I also wanted to see how I could develop my work.

    Richard: My goal was to go into another city that I have never been before. I set a goal to gain more exposure in promotion for myself and my company.

    Jeanette: I had two main goals. My first goal was to have a professional presence at the festivals, and my second goal was to get out of my comfort zone (both geographically and professionally). I want to expose my work to a larger audience. Urban and blended playwrights need to become influencers in the industry and gain recognition and respect for our work.

    R.J.: Great answers by all! What were your triumphs and setbacks in participating in the festivals?

    Jeanette: My triumph was not only winning the awards, but learning how things were done on a festival level and how they impact the industry as a whole. I finally met some UPU family members face to face and created long-lasting relationships.

    Nanette: I felt triumphant just by being accepted into the festivals. The great performances by the actors and enjoyment by the audience was reward enough. Financial setbacks occurred; however, the exposure and feedback received was valuable to the development of my work. Most of the festivals were organized and accommodating.

    Darrell: Thank God that we had no setbacks! The triumph was that I had the distinct pleasure of sitting right next to our very own Jeanette Hill and her husband when her play The Best Lesson was announced as the winner in the Readers’ Theater category. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with blessed people, you soon become a blessed person. Sitting by Mrs. Hill that night means that my future is bright!

    Donna: The number of festival attendees was surprisingly low. That would be my main concern and possible setback. On the flip side, we were afforded the opportunity to view some amazing talent from around the United States in various genres.

    Karen: My triumph was to win Best Stage Play. My setback was because of the way the program was set up, I did not get a chance to either see every film or attend every workshop because they ran concurrently.

    Richard: My triumphs were pulling off the impossible by bringing my entire cast down to Atlanta to perform the show. My setbacks were not getting the crowd and the return on investment that I expected.

    Eric: As a triumph, we were able to assemble a first-rate cast from Houston to Atlanta through fundraising and prayer! As a result, we won the Short Play Competition.

    R.J.:Awesome! I see the majority of you just wanted to get out of your home base and try something new in a new area. How many of you won awards at the festivals and what were the awards?

    Teleah: My team won the championship title to the One-Act Battle Competition at the DCBTF. We were the 2013 grand prize winners!

    Eric: We won the Short Play Competition at the ABTF.

    Jeanette: I am both humbled and ecstatic! I won The Best Staged Reading Award at the ABTF. I also won the People’s Choice Award at the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.

    Nanette: Unfortunately, I did not win any awards at the festivals; however, being chosen to participate was extremely rewarding!

    Donna/Tangie: WOW Productions was honored to win the Best Director Award for a stage play at the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.

    Darrell: Seeing that we were in the same category as The Best Lesson, we didn’t win. But the experience was priceless just the same!

    Karen: I won Best Stage Play for Where’s My Inheritance? at the KCFF.

    Richard: Unfortunately, we didn’t win any awards.

    R.J.: Congrats to all award winners and to those who came close. What did you take away from the festivals and would you participate in the festival circuit again?

    Teleah: I learned that it takes a team to build a dream and that hard work pays off! Yes, overall it was a good first-time experience and I got to meet Pertri Hawkins-Byrd from Judge Judy!

    Jeanette: The most important thing I brought back with me was greater confidence in my abilities, especially when it comes to submitting and participating in festivals and contests outside of my local area and my comfort zone. Just as importantly, I realized that festival or not, it is still a business! I would absolutely participate in the festival circuit again! Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I was able to observe work of some very talented artists. I learned a lot, not only about the festivals, but also about myself personally and my abilities. I also had a chance to meet Pearl Cleage and Melba Moore, two people I really admire!

    Richard: The main thing that I took away from the festival is that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pull this thing off. I would most definitely participate in the festival circuit again, but it will be in the distant future.

    Donna: An artist, whether they are a writer, producer, actor, or director, no matter the genre, must always look to improve and hone their craft. You are only as good as your last production. I am sure Tangie and I will attend many more festivals in the future, as it is afforded to us the opportunity to view the wonderful and amazing talent. WOW Productions will definitely have to step our game up!

    Nanette: I took away a great appreciation for all of the effort and talent it takes from everybody, beginning with the playwright and the actors, to the production team and finally to the audience to make our work and festivals successful. It was surreal to see the work that God had me create come to life onstage. The appreciation and understanding from those who were in the audience. The talk backs I was able to conduct were very engaging at the two festivals. Without question, I am a playwright, and I am walking in my purpose! I feel it is important to support black theatre festivals. In many cases, they are the only method for getting initial exposure. It feels more like family.

    Darrell: The more you know, the more you grow. Both can be obtained by participating in the ABTF. I will absolutely be a part of the festival circuit again!

    Karen: I came away with an expanded vision for my work. I realize now that there is a process to accomplishing your goal. But if you take it step by step, work diligently and persistently on it, it will happen. There is a myriad of people out there willing to help. It was a very good experience. I would definitely participate in the festival circuit again!

    Eric: We were able to perform for a live urban market in Atlanta. Most of our works are multi-cultural and it was a treat to see that the work was received very well by a large urban market! I will absolutely participate again!

    R.J.: Well fellow playwrights, our time has come to an end! This was truly an intriguing, insightful, interview with you all! Congrats to all of the winners and participants of the various festivals. I’m looking forward to hearing about your next production mounting at another festival event in 2014! 

  • September 25, 2013 12:47 AM | Vanessa Lynn (Administrator)
    Well Festival season is upon us and I am SOOOO excited that so many UPU members have been selected to either perform,or have their films/DVD screened next weekend. Next week in Atlanta is going to be a busy time. Two separate events are taking place; The Atlanta Black Theater Festival and The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival and we need your support! Please purchase tickets and come to the many performances of UPU members and also support myself at one or more of the speaking engagements I have listed. Here is the schedule of OFFICIAL UPU members that are participating. Tickets and information are available on each festivals website (UPU does not handle ticketing for either event).  Please support, for many UPU members this is their first festival experience and they need to see your smiling faces!

    Kingdomwood Stage Play Screenings (
    Crowne Plaza Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody, Atlanta, GA
    Jeanette Hill - Best Lesson - 9am 
    Karen Jethroe - Where's My Inheritance - 10:40am
    Joyce Smith - Overdose - 2:40pm
    Tangie Brickhouse-Beaty - Yesterday Is Still Gone- 4:40pm
    Vanessa Lynn -Workshop- Beyond The Chitlin Circuit  - 6:50pm

    Atlanta Black Theater Festival - (
    Porter Sanford Theater, 4131 Rainbow Dr, Decatur, GA

    October 3
    Vanessa Lynn - Opening Day Symposium Panelist -10am
    Jeanette Hill - Best Lesson -5pm 

    October 4 
    Vanessa Lynn -Workshop - "Beyond the Chitlin' Circuit" 12pm & 3pm
    Nanette Hodge - Mama's Drama -7pm 
    UPU Presents -Short Play Competition  9pm-11pm 

    October 5 
    RonSher Brooks -Give Me One Reason - 7pm
    Richard Bass -Entangled 10pm 

    Vanessa Lynn
    UPU Founder and Executive Director
<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Urban Playwrights United

America's #1 Hub for EVERYTHING on the URBAN STAGE!

Copyright © 2012, by Urban Playwrights United, All rights reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software