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The Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI) was created in 2005 by Jackie Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of the Black Ensemble Theater. In explaining why the BPI was formulated Ms. Taylor stated; “Chicago has a rich and fertile community of African American Playwrights. There was a need for an organization that focused specifically on these artists as it related to their unique cultural heritage. The BPI is a vehicle that brings us together as a community to share resources and nourish our skills. It is the purpose of the BPI to develop scripts for the Black Ensemble Theater. It is also the purpose of the BPI to increase local and national exposure for our membership.” The BPI also provides training, technological resources and advancement opportunities for Chicago’s African American Playwrights Community.

Black Playwrights Festival - January 22nd and 23rd

To be considered for membership into the BPI, please submit a letter of inquiry, a synopsis of your play, and a ten-page writing sample to Wendell Etherly at You may also mail your materials to the attention of Wendell Etherly, Co-Chair of the BPI; Black Ensemble Theater 4450 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60640.