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COCAwrites: Plays on Zoom Festival Adds Guest Tarell Alvin McCraney

The festival of new short plays will feature a Q&A and coaching session with the award-winning writer and teacher.

ST. LOUIS: The Center of Creative Arts (COCA) has announced a new-play festival, COCAwrites: Plays on Zoom, which will feature Academy Award winner and Tony nominee Tarell Alvin McCraney as a special guest. The festival will feature a collection of new short plays and musicals chosen from submissions from around the world to be presented for free on Zoom on May 8. Following the festival will be a Q&A with McCraney where he will discuss his work and the challenges of writing during social distancing.

“This festival is just the start of COCA’s broader commitment to boost theatre for multigenerational audiences in St. Louis and beyond,” said COCA’s artistic director of theatre, Jennifer Wintzer, in a statement. “COCAwrites highlights COCA’s commitment to bolster the training and professionalism of our students as they become vital forces in a new generation of theatre.”

The festival will include musicals and four plays chosen by a committee made up of St. Louis playwrights and COCA students. Two of the four plays will be from student playwrights, and McCraney will read and give a private coaching session to the student playwrights and members of COCA’s vocal companies.  The festival shows will be performed by COCA students and professional actors from St. Louis and New York.

McCraney will work alongside the festival’s directors: Jacqueline Thompson, Kern McFadden from NYU’s Stella Adler Studio, and Amelia Acosta Powell from the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. COCA vocal co-director Colin Healy will lead the students in the creation of new musicals and Delaney Piggins will serve as the festival’s dramaturg.

COCAwrites: Plays on Zoom marks the beginning of COCA’s new virtual and on-site offerings for young theatre artists beginning this summer and fall and timed to take up residency in the center’s new 450-seat Berges Theatre, which is set to open this year.

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