After much criticism during its premiere in 2012, the Republican Theater Festival will be relaunched in the spring of 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia, under the direction of Chambers Theatrical Enterprises.
The Republican Theater Festival is a new-play festival dedicated to presenting a conservative perspective in the predominantly liberal medium of live theatre. Despite the name, the festival and the plays that will be presented are not meant to persuade how people vote. Instead, it is meant to change how people listen. This is an initiative to unite and diversify the theatre and art industry, to put playwrights, directors, actors, and audience members face-to-face with their friends “across the aisle.”
The festival was founded in 2012 by Cara Blouin and Forearmed Productions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the first and only attempt at presenting the Republican Theater Festival was not well-received by the theatre community both in Pennsylvania and around the country. In late 2016, Colt Chambers connected with Blouin and wanted to keep the vision of the project alive and Blouin agreed to turn the festival over to Chambers, who will serve as the Producing Artistic Director moving forward.
Chambers, who is active in conservative politics, is eager to take on this project and face the obstacles that may ensue. “In 2012, Cara [Blouin], a self-proclaimed liberal, recognized that conservatism was missing on the stages across America. The Republican Theater Festival was her attempt to unite the community from the political divide,” Chambers stated, “Her attempt was faced with much criticism and resistance, which is disgusting to me. The arts are meant to be inclusive and that was in 2012. Today, not only is the theatre experiencing a great political divide, our entire country is. This type of event is necessary now more than ever.”
The Republican Theater Festival is now accepting submissions for new plays for the 2018 festival. Both liberal and conservative playwrights are encouraged to submit. The only requirement is that the plays must have a strong conservative message or theme and do not vilify or stereotype conservative characters. For example, previous plays presented on the Republican Theater Festival stage have included stories about a world in which individuals are able to apply for tax-exempt status, a group of Christians fighting to keep a statue of Jesus in their public park, revenge that reveals the complicity of unions in harm to consumers, and a daughter’s decision to abort rocks her conservative Catholic family. Submissions will be open through the end of January 2018. To submit, visit www.RepublicanTheaterFestival.com/submissions.
The Republican Theater Festival will be presented in Spring of 2018 in the Atlanta area. The date and venue of the 2018 Republican Theater Festival have yet to be announced. According to Chambers Theatrical Enterprises, those details are expected to be announce before the end of the year. To stay up to date on the progress of the festival, visit www.RepublicanTheaterFestival.com.