Cover of the March/April 2022 issue of The Dramatist
The Carolinas: Crossing Over Into 2022
sticker of "Hustle" in front of city people

Happy New Year! Yes, we made it. We crossed over into 2022. For many, we’re leaving behind a year that pushed us personally, challenged us creatively, and left us wondering if we’d ever see the sight of a stage again or if we’d only see the black squares of Zoom. Yet even in the midst of all of that, new work did arise as seen through End of Play.®, classes through the DGI, and even accountability groups formed to encourage writing in community. 

It is my hope, along with our Ambassadors Erica McGee and Triza Cox, that we keep providing the Carolinas ways to continue this creative journey. To help facilitate this, a survey will be coming out soon. Please participate. The more you lend your ideas, the more this region will become what you need and want. 

And lastly, I want to say thank you to Jacqueline E. Lawton. Her leadership pushed this region into new creative waters. Her ability to tap little known artists in the region to share their expertise, ideas, and passions for storytelling opened us up to one another. Thank you, Jacqueline. 

Now, I want to give Erica McGee and Triza Cox a moment to give us the past year’s highlights.

Erica McGee: North Carolina is working diligently to try and bring new live theatre back to the people. While it seems that there are still difficulties producing theatre regarding COVID restrictions and mandates, some theatres are now presenting full seasons with precautions in place for audiences and casts. While this differs from state to state, dramatists were and continue to be encouraged about opportunities that will be soon be available again for playwrights. 

There was concern that new works would be put on pause and that theatres would lean toward more established works since the pandemic put such a financial strain on theatres around the country. However, playwrights are being creative when it comes to getting back into the game. There are more online new play readings, outdoor workshops, and even some visual arts and theatre collaborations happening and being planned. We are hopeful that the Footlights New Play Festival will be in person in 2022, so that playwrights will have an opportunity to share their work live and in-person and receive that fellowship and camaraderie with their peers that has been so sorely missed. 

Triza Cox: The 2021-2022 season afforded many of the South Carolina theatre artists more access to live performances, but “normal” remains just out of reach. Productions have mounted with reduced house sizes and cancellations in the wake of variant outbreaks. Despite these uncertainties, playwrights and producers persevere in availing themselves of opportunities to debut new works. As was the case in the spring of 2020, dramatists continue to utilize technology for staged readings and workshops. Some South Carolina dramatists have been able to connect with writers’ groups and classes via Zoom during this period. Joining workshops outside of their given region has given many of these artists access to trainings and mentoring that were previously out of reach. 

Many playwrights are utilizing this time to continue to complete works and aggressively pursue submitting opportunities. Yet, artists must confront constant rejection through this submission process. “Being a theatre artist means consistently exposing yourself to rejections,” states veteran South Carolina stage performer Sutton Bacote. 

Reconciliation of the incessant rejections appears to be a necessary attribute of the dramatist’s pursuit to getting their work produced. It requires resilience and grit, but through perseverance recognition can occur. Another South Carolina artist made the following statement about making a career in the rural South: “The struggle is real, but the hustle is deep.”

Nichole Palmer

is a trained journalist, dramatic writer, and published author who has more than 25 years of experience writing for multicultural, mainstream, and faith-based audiences.

Erica McGee
Triza Cox

is a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre artist. Her original plays include A Last SupperMeritocracy The Willing, God in the Midst of it All, and Lil’ Bard. Triza is proud to serve as the South Carolina Ambassador for The Dramatists Guild.