Stream New Black Plays (for Free)

One of the many things I love about the Obsidian Theatre Festival (OTF), is that we stream our work! It is a unique component of both OTF and the festival I co-founded, the Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival. It is very valuable component to me because when my kids were younger, my ability to see live theatre in New York city was great impeded by finances. I couldn’t afford childcare, nor did I have enough money to pay for theatre tickets on a regular basis. In fact, I never stood in line for Free Shakespeare in the Park tickets, a NYC ritual. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but, I was working while in grad school, and once I had kids, the idea of standing in line was not my ideal scenario. When I was able to see the occasional show, (not at the small white-box where I worked), a friend usually had to watch my kids, or their dad stayed with them if he wasn’t working. It’s actually something that I think about often because I have been there, and I want parents and caregivers to still be able to see theatre without the mental gymnastics of who is going to care for their child / children or family member, and the financial inquiry as to whether or not they can afford it.

With the rise in streaming and virtual productions during the height of the pandemic and lockdown, I am as passionate as ever about being part of any organization that prioritizes accessibility in this way.

So, if you are looking for ways to support the work I produce AND Black theatre from the comfort of your own home, if you have a child or family member to care for, or if finances are tight, then check out OTF.

The Obsidian Theatre Festival is an annual Black theatre festival that takes place at the end of June in downtown Detroit. It’s hard to believe that we are entering our 4th season this year! It is my 3rd season as part of the festival, but I watched that first year and took notes, messaging John my thoughts at the end of each stream or chatting after the fact. It was exciting to watch him do the livestream each night (channeling our hometown Channel 7 Action News) and although that aspect of the festival has not continued, we are providing free access to the work that we produce every year.

This year, the festival will be entering its 4th Season, running June 27 – 30th. Prior to the Festival, the week will begin with the GhostLight Arts Initiative‘s Inaugural Detroit IMPACT Arts Conference. More on that in the coming weeks! But the Propulsion Theatre Project that we launched as part of our Mellon Funding we received has a symposium there and this is a real chance for our audiences to engage with the Ghostlight Arts Initiative separate from the festival! Dr. Rashida Harrison and Sarae Daniels have been the backbone of GLAI over the last several seasons. Sarae has been with GLAI and the festival since it began in the Arts Education department, and Dr. Harrison has always been a guest or panelist in the post-show conversations that are a big part of the education content that founder, John Sloan III finds essential. I cannot wait to share the speakers and panelists that will be part of this season’s Inaugural conference. It will be an exciting (and exhausting) week, and I am so honored to be part of this team doing this work in my hometown.

The 4 finalists this season are: Aaron Mays with “Black Santa”, Prentiss Matthews III with “The Golden Loc” , Azure D. Osborne-Lee with “Crooked Parts” and Lori Roper with “The Sisters Grey”.

You can also read more about those plays and playwrights here.

I sincerely hope that you make your way to the festival this summer in Detroit. Before you book your flights or reserve your FREE tickets or purchase a festival pass to support, you can stream plays, panels and additional content from the first 3 seasons for Free on our website!

You can visit the OTF website to join. OTF has 3 streaming options, and each month two featured pieces or “spotlight productions” will be highlighted and shared on the festival’s website.  Interested viewers can visit and subscribe to any one of the three streaming packages: Slate, Noir and Black Pearl.  Subscribers can enjoy Free access to all Featured and Educational Content with Slate.  Noir is available for $1/ week with access to Featured and Educational Content plus a Free Gift.  Noir+ is the annual version with a Discounted rate of $50/year.  A Monthly subscription option is available with Black Pearl for $10/month.  It includes advance invitations to Special Events and a Free Gift.  Black Pearl+ is the Annual option at $100/year.

Watch two excerpt from “The Underground Color Wheel” by Cris Eli Blak which was part of Season 3 below!

ABOUT THE PLAY: In The Underground Color Wheel, we follow the twenty-year journey of painter Ivory Nichols. Despite coming from humble beginnings, Ivory doesn’t dream of being a good artist, he dreams of being a great artist. As his success grows and he begins to see his biggest dreams coming true, he finds the support of his “Ebony Mona Lisa,” Ashlyn, his best friend, Enzo, and his assistant, Lorelei. As time goes by and the pressures of success weigh heavier, the line between his art and his life begin to blur, putting everything on the line.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Cris Eli Blak’s work has been produced around the world. He is the winner of the Black Broadway Men Playwriting Initiative and is currently the artist in residence at the State University of New York – Oswego and the recipient of the Emerging Playwrights Fellowship from The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre.

I am thrilled to share this work with you. Please let us know what you think and spread the word. Support like yours keeps projects like this going and supports local artists.

Dreams do come true

Below is a sneak peek of this content!

I had a really exciting conversation today / yesterday- Thursday, January 4th. I am so excited about it and it is something I manifested… something I have wanted to do… and in a divine way,...
To view this content, you must be a member of Garlia's Patreon at $1 or more

Keynote Speaker: Louisiana Arts Summit

I am so thrilled to share that I will be one of the keynote speakers for the Louisiana Arts Summit in Baton Rouge in October!  This will be my first time as a keynote speaker and because I have a dream of giving a TED talk, this will certainly not be my last.

The summit will take place from October 4th - 8th.  This will be my first time in Baton Rouge, and I am looking forward to the creative connections and spending time with a very dear friend, who recommended me for this keynote in fact 💜.

I have been working on my speech, and in addition to speaking to open up the summit, I will be on a few panels as well!  If you are in the area, please click the Register Here button below to learn more about the summit and attend.

Photo Aug 23 2023, 10 50 58 PM

Other Keynote Speakers include: T. Lang and Claire Rice.  There was a lovely piece about the 3 of us in Country Roads, that you can read here.



Looking forward to gathering and sharing our dreams for now and the future.

Thanks for reading!

Tickets on Sale – 12th Annual “48Hours in…™Harlem” – Sunday, August 27, 2023 – 7pm and 9:30pm EST!

It's that time of year again!  the 12th Annual "48Hours in...™Harlem" will take place two weeks from today on Sunday, August 27, 2023.  We will have two performances at the National Dance Institute in Harlem.  Don't miss the 7pm or the 9:30pm EST shows of 6 new 10-minute plays by these 6 incredible writers:

Top Row:
Andrea Ambam
Christin Eve Cato
Julienne Hairston

Bottom Row:
Johnny G. Lloyd
a.k. payne
M.D. Schaffer


Tickets are on sale now via our website - HERE. 

They are $25 online and $30 CASH ONLY at the door!  Make sure to visit the above link to our website for the address and to learn more about this incredible Obie Award Winning collective that I have been part of since we began in 2010.

I only know a couple of this year's directors, but look forward to welcoming,

Top Row:
Christopher D. Betts
Tyrone Davis
Kelly GreenLight

Bottom Row:
Benton Greene
Ava Novak
Kirya Traber

Last but certainly not least are the actors!  We would not be able to put these new plays out into the world without them.  Make sure you stay tuned to our website and Instagram Feed to see their headshots!

Toree Alexandre

Murphy Lorenzo Applin Jr.

Taylor A. Blackman*

Maya Carter

Kayla Coleman*

Brittany Davis

Marchael Giles

Kara Green

Gerrard James*

Christopher B. Portley

Morgen McKynzie

AhDream Smith*

Booker Vance*

Imani Pearl Williams*

Justin K. Winley


* these Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association*


Looking forward to seeing you there -

now GET THOSE TICKETS! 🙂 (click HEre!)

In the News: LinkedIn and WDET – Detroit

Hi again!

Sharing some interviews I've had over the last month or so.

1st up, I was on the LinkedIn News podcast, Hello Monday with Jessi Hempl.  My friend, Sarah Storm, who has been a consist support of my work for years now is a podcast producer there.  I was on another podcast she produced for the Dramatists Guild a few years ago, "TALKBACK".  The episode was on collaborating with a marketing Department 🙂 

This Hello Monday episode was special because it's not often I get to speak about my parenting journey outside of my own festival.  I got very emotional a couple times and we chatted for such a long time.  The episode has several parenting perspectives.  It is a really nice listen and I was honored to actually be asked to participate.

You can check out the weekly newsletter that Hello Monday posts on LinkedIn Here.  This one focuses on "Balancing Career Ambition and Parenting: Real Stories and Expert Advice" and includes the episode that I was on.

LISTEN to our HELLO MONDAY Episode: "Parenting: Getting Timing Right" HERE!

Next up... John and I did an interview for the 3rd Annual Obsidian Theatre Festival on WDET's Culture Shift!   We have both been on the show before, but this was the first time in conversation with the Culture Shift team, Ryan Patrick Hooper and Tia Graham, together.

My first time on the show was in 2019 with Courtney Burkett of Detroit Public Theatre for Harlem9's Inaugural "48Hours in...™Detroit" - You can listen to that episode HERE !

John has been on CultureShift several times, but if you're curious about the growth from the Inaugural Obsidian Theatre Festival, you can listen to his interview with Ryan HERE from 2020.

John Sloan III, Co-Executive Producer and Producing Artistic Director, Obsidian Theatre Festival; Garlia Cornelia Jones, Senior Creative Producer, Obsidian Theatre Festival (me 😉 )

Anyway, a few weeks ago, on May 23, 2023, I connected via zoom while John visited the local studio.  There is something so meaningful about conversation that has to do with doing work in Detroit.  One of the things I promised myself as a teenager was to comeback to Detroit to work.  I didn't know what that would look like, but I can tell you that the last several years have been spent doing ex

actly that - building an artistic community in Detroit alongside my artistic community in New York.   I am fortunate to support artists and artistic endeavors in both markets and this conversation was a bit of a full circle moment in that regard.

LISTEN to our Conversation with Tia Graham on WDET's Culture Shift HERE

... and if you're in Detroit... Make sure that you reserve your FREE tickets for our festival today!  It is not to be missed!


We've got 4 days of plays, a musical theatre showcase and a cabaret!

Hope to see you there, and thanks for reading!

Feeling Grateful: Did you know that I host a Podcast… at The Public… Are you Listening?

Hey there - Happy Monday...

I'm gonna get a little sentimental for a moment…
I was updating the description for the podcast with the New Media Associate, and when I added some of the guests we’ve had this year to the description, I got really emotional… and tired… lol

We have been so deeply in go mode, but being able to write this list when a year ago at this time, we didn’t have this podcast the way we have it now at The Public, and I was newly promoted and Line Producing the Gala…. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this season would bring forth a description like this…

This season, The Public Theater’s Podcast came back!  Get a behind-the-scenes look and investigate process with our artists and staff.  This season’s guests included: Suzan-Lori Parks, Robert O’Hara, Delfeayo Marsalis, Oskar Eustis (Final Episode that drops on the 15th) and Tony Award nominees: Emilio Sosa, Nikki Crawford and Saheem Ali… and more!

Listen, wherever you find your podcasts or at Square

Public Square 2.0 is Hosted by Garlia Cornelia Jones, Director, Innovation and New Media
The podcast is only one portion of Innovation and New Media - but I am really proud of this work and these episodes (Currently 16 - will be 17 after June 15th) and how we are sharing our mission beyond the theatres so many New Yorkers know and love.  It has been my goal to invite new audiences in by sharing what we are doing - even in conversation in a digital way.

If you are reading this post and you haven't yet done so, I hope that you will take a moment to connect with the podcast and this season's episodes.
Share them if you enjoy them and please leave us a review or a rating.

I am incredibly grateful to the team that puts this podcast together.  Here is a photo from our Pilot episode featuring Suzan-Lori Parks and the retiring Production Executive, Ruth Sternberg.  There's not many projects I do without John (and Amber, but she is not pictured here), these days.  When I knew I wanted to do a podcast, I called John - we were already working on Obsidian Theatre Festival, and the Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival, and it was important to have a Bipoc and growing production team in Ghostlight Creative Productions.  We also co-wrote a song for the #24hourViralMusicals in 2021... but I could write a book on all that later.  Anyway, Artistic Partnerships like this are rare and I do not take them for granted.

Since I'm in a bit of a sentimental and mushy mood, I'll pause for now...

(Left to Right) Emily White, New Media Associate; Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulizter Prize Winning Playwright, Writer-In-Residence at The Public; Justin K. Sloan, Audio Producer (Ghostlight Creative Productions); Garlia Cornelia Jones, Host and EP; and John Sloan III, Producer and Video Editor (Ghostlight Creative Productions).


As we get ready to end this season on the 15th, I will spend some time re-capping each episode here, including the links, behind-the-scenes photos and the video episode.

For now, the best way to take it all in, is by clicking this link HERE:


Supporting Obsidian and Black Theatre in Detroit (a childhood dream!)

Hey Everyone!

Life has been busy busy these days... but really... how is that new....?

I turned 40 two days ago... (Stay Tuned for that full newsletter).  It was a beautiful day, and if you follow me on social media or receive my newsletter - you will get the full update!

In this moment, I'm posting to share the GoFundMe Campaign that we just launched for the Obsidian Theatre Festival.  

When I was a kid, I always knew that I wanted to be part of a theatre community in Detroit.  I didn't know exactly that looked like... but over the last few years, I have been able to be part of some fantastic projects that do just that.

Since that first season in 2021, OTF has created a space for Black artists in the city of Detroit, and across the country. Based in Detroit, a cradle of Artistic creativity, Obsidian builds an innovative space – one that allows for audiences and artists alike to celebrate the diversity of Blackness.  

There is no “singular, monolithic Black experience”. Every story deserves to be told.  And the barriers we break down from learning about each other create new pathways – ones where compassion meets understanding, and “community” becomes more than a buzzword. 

Over the course of one weekend we present original plays, musicals, cabaret performances, and panel discussions.  All of this is done at no cost to the artists or audience.  

That’s right.  Once accepted, the new pieces are produced entirely by OTF.  We hire the directors and the actors, build the sets, and everything in between.  From Thursday through Sunday, there are 12 individual performances, multiple opportunities for audience participation.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, each and every piece we produce is filmed and streamed on our website.  So, just in case you can’t make it to Detroit, you can still participate and catch all of this amazing work.

And, we don’t charge the audiences anything either.  Our gift to the community.

But free to the community, isn’t cheap for us.  

Each year we hire over 100 artists (90%+ identify as BIPOC), and we need your help to make sure we can continue to support this community.  

We are so close to our goal, and this last $25k is vital to making sure we can produce our 3rd Annual season. 

In 2021, we were doing something new at a time when gathering for the theatre in person was nearly impossible.  Now, we need your help to make sure we can continue to overcome impossibility.  

Check out the video for a message from our Producing AD, John Sloan III.  Give what you can and then share this campaign with your friends, family, frenemies, …the guy at your corner store.  

Thank you for helping us bring Black Stories to this New Stage.  



Black Organizations to Support during Black History Month… and every day of the year!

I've been keeping pretty busy lately.  My projects have a world all their own.  It's why I formed 55AP last Fall, but more on that another time...

Supporting me on Patreon as the hub of all of this work - I consistently create space for Black artists and my own writing, but creative time as a parent requires your children to be occupied or sleep to be at a minimum.  The balance between all of that is real.

There is truly something for everyone as it relates to Black creatives on this list:

From Blackboard Plays, the reading series I've been running for nearly 14 years at this point, to Harlem9, the OBIE Award winning producing collaborative that is responsible for "48Hours in...™Harlem" "48Hours in...™El Bronx", "48Hours in...™Holy Ground", "48Hours in...™Detroit", and "48Hours in...™Dallas"... to name a few...  PLUS the anthologies we publish that include the work we have been producing over the years.

#BMPFest exists to make space for Black Parent Playwrights to tell the stories of Black Families.  We are so nuanced and rarely are we able to live in those complexities - rarely are we invited to tell those stories.  Our Black Motherhood and Parenting New Play Festival, makes the space for that!

Obsidian Theatre Festival is a Black Theatre Festival in Detroit.  I am currently their Creative Producer and it was an important project to add to my already busy roster because it is in my hometown of Detroit and I will find any reason to create at home and support artists and aspiring artists in Detroit because I was once a high schooler who thought hard about a journey back to Detroit that didn't involve Detroit because I desired a more diverse set of opportunities and to be in New York for a while.

All of these projects have Black artists in common and today and everyday!