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Speak Up, Act Out:

Inspired by The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative

Inspire a new generation of writers and activists!

Inspired by the legacy, life and creative work of celebrated playwright and civil rights activist, Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun), New Victory, The Lillys and The 24 Hour Plays are partnering to produce a student writing showcase and help foster the next generation of writers and activists.

Portrait of Dramatist Lorraine Hansberry circa 1950s. Photographer unknown. (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library.)

Student Dramatic Writing Showcase

Open to Middle & High School Students in NYC

The Speak Up, Act Out: Inspired by The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative Dramatic Writing Showcase offers Middle and High School students an exciting opportunity to have a monologue or short two-person scene performed by professional actors and be included in the production process.

What we’re looking for:

  • A monologue or two-person scene that can be performed in 5 minutes or less!
    (no more than 700 words)
  • A creative writing submission with your student’s original voice, based on their own experiences, curiosities, interests, etc., that is inspired by and embodies the spirit of playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry

Submission FAQs

Who can submit an entry?

  • New York City students in Grades 6-12 (ages 11 and up)

A Teacher contact and Parent/Guardian contact must be listed in the submission form.

Will all entries be included in the showcase?

  • Dramatic works submitted for consideration will be adjudicated by a select committee of artists and educators.
  • Dramatic works selected for the virtual showcase, featuring professional actors, will be confirmed in early-to-mid December 2021.

How will students be involved in the process?

  • Student finalists will be an active part of the creative team, collaborating with other artists in the process to shape and curate their original submission into a final dynamic piece!
  • Professional creative teams will meet with student finalists starting in early January of 2022 with the event held in February.

When is the virtual showcase?

The virtual showcase will be held sometime in February of 2022.

Submissions are due by Monday, November 15, 2021 at 11:59pm ET.

Submit writing!

Provide the form link to your students to submit their monologues and scenes.

Access submission form

Learn and Prepare

Lorraine Hansberry was a civil rights activist throughout her life. Hansberry highlighted the intersectionality between the fight for gay rights, the rights for people of color and women’s rights well before terms like “homophobia” and “feminism” came to be used. Utilize the following resources to learn more about Lorraine Hansberry and help your students prepare their writing submissions.

Lorraine Hansberry Education Resources

New Victory®School Tool®Resource Guide for Speak Up, Act Out: Inspired by The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative

Playlist of Instructional Videos and Activities from New Victory Education

All resources are provided as supplemental materials to support teaching and learning. Use is not required to submit entries in the Speak Up, Act Out: Inspired by The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative Dramatic Writing Showcase.

About the Project Partners

New Victory

Powered by New 42, New Victory opens new worlds for young people and families through extraordinary performances, engagement and education programs. Every year, New Victory provides more kids with more live performing arts in more grades than any other arts organization in the city.

The Lillys

The Lillys have been honoring, supporting, and advocating for women in theater for the past twelve years. They are founders of The Lilly Awards; The Family Residency at Space on Ryder Farm; and The Count, in association with The Dramatists Guild, which consists of ten years of data documenting who and what is produced on American stages. The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative will debut in 2022.

The 24 Hour Plays®

The 24 Hour Plays bring together creative communities to produce plays and musicals that are written, rehearsed, and performed in 24 hours. Our radically-present approach to theatermaking responds immediately to the world around us, builds communities, and generates new artistic partnerships.

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