New York, NY, June 15, 2020 – Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA), the national organization representing the field of theatre for children and family audiences, announces the release of Idris Goodwin’s FREE PLAY: Open Source Scripts Toward an Antiracist Tomorrow. Award-winning playwright, poet, and changemaker Idris Goodwin has launched five short plays to spark conversation and serve as a catalyst for action. Each of these short works, written to be read across the multi-generational spectrum, offer different insights about disconnects in racial conversation and the Black experience in America. Goodwin hopes that this release also provides a model for open-source theater and storytelling, in which the connection between playwright and community is direct.
“Theatre is where we see ourselves and wrestle with our beliefs. Through the stories of others we reflect on our own. Since racism lives at the intersection of misinformation, ego and unchecked power, the arts must counteract by cultivating personal reflection, learning, conversation and compassion,” explained Goodwin. “I used to say that I probably won’t see an end to racism in my lifetime. However, over these past few weeks, witnessing the power of the people united, in the streets, in the virtual, political, educational, cultural, and corporate arenas, it has reinvigorated me with a heightened urgency. Systemic racism must end now and forever. One way of doing so is talking with our children about it. These five plays are meant to serve as sparks for conversation.”
“TYA/USA is honored to offer a platform to share and amplify these plays across the nation,” shared Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of TYA/USA. “In this moment of powerful revolution and reflection, Idris’ words offer a way for all audiences, especially children, young adults and families, to create dialogue and envision change through the art form of theatre.”
The plays released include three new works:
WATER GUN SONG (for audiences age 6 and up) finds a parent trying to find the words to explain to a child why a water gun isn’t simply a toy
NOTHING RHYMES WITH JUNETEENTH (for audiences age 9 and up) finds a child and a parent trying to complete a rap for a school presentation
ACT FREE (for audiences age 9 and up) finds three kids wrestling with the definition of freedom
Also included are two previously produced works (both for audiences age 14 and up):
#MATTER is a two hander about former high school friends debating matters of life and race.
BLACK FLAG finds two new dorm-mates excited to start their freshman year together, until one decides to decorate their room with a little piece of ‘Southern pride.’
The plays are available at www.tyausa.org/freeplay. Goodwin offers these 5 plays to be read and produced across communities. To publicly present any or all of these works, they must be offered to the community free of charge. For further conversation about production in a professional setting, inquiries can be directed to Idris Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the release of these works, New Victory has created a week-long series of engagement activities called “New Victory Arts Break: Honoring & Celebrating Juneteenth,” part of the Theater’s ongoing series to help families incorporate the performing arts into their learning at home. New Victory invites you to engage with the past and connect to these new plays as a way to utilize the arts to educate, communicate and activate us all towards equality, liberation and justice.
About Idris Goodwin: Across two decades Idris Goodwin has forged a multi-faceted career as an award-winning playwright, Break Beat poet, director, educator, and organizer.
His critically acclaimed plays like And In This Corner Cassius Clay, How We Got On, and Hype Man: A Break Beat Play are widely produced across the country at professional theatres, college campuses, and non-traditional spaces alike. He’s been honored to receive developmental support from institutions like The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O’Neill Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, and The Playwrights’ Center.
In addition to the recently released poetry collection Can I Kick It?, he’s had several publications from Haymarket Books including Inauguration co written with nico wilkinson, Human Highlight: Ode To Dominique Wilkins, and the play This Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin Coval. He’s appeared on HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel.
Passionate about cultivating new audiences in the arts, Goodwin served two seasons as Producing Artistic Director at StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. He actively serves on both the advisory boards of Theatre for Young Audiences USA and Children’s Theatre Foundation Association.
Idris is the newly appointed Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where he taught in the department of Theatre and Dance and was voted Teacher of the Year in 2015.A catalyst for culture, Goodwin uses his full creative powers to galvanize people to the community square. He is a creative voice for change, impassioned by art for social good. Visit and follow his exploits on social media.
About TYA/USA: Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA) is the leading national organization representing over 1,000 member theatres, organizations, and individual arts professionals across the United States committed to the professional field of theatre for children, young adults, and families. Recently, 1200 professionals from 46 states and 21 countries participated in the 2020 TYA/USA Virtual Festival & Conference. Dedicated to ensuring that all young people have access to high-quality theatre experiences, TYA/USA offers a variety of programming that connects professionals working in the sector through in-person gatherings and virtual sessions; provides opportunities for field-wide learning and leadership development; disseminates field news and research through a variety of print and online channels; and advances the field both internally and externally through a range of advocacy efforts. Founded in 1965, TYA/USA is the only theatre organization in the United States which has the development of professional theatre for young audiences and international exchange as its primary mandates. TYA/USA is the United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ). More information can be found at www.tyausa.org.