National Black Theatre Opens Applications for the 2024-2026 Soul Series L.A.B. Programs
NBT I Am Soul Playwriting Residency

NEW YORK, NY – National Black Theatre (NBT) is now accepting application submissions for its SOUL Series L.A.B. programs. Centering the creative disciplines of playwriting, directing, and producing THE L.A.B. (Liberating Artistic Bravery), is a contemporary laboratory for accelerating the creation of innovative new work by cutting-edge artists who are rooted in NBT’s pedagogy. To gain access to the application for each of these distinct programs and learn more about the series, visit

“This residency program has been a launching pad and a spark to help propel some of the brightest and thought-provoking artists of our time. It is a program deeply rooted in the powerful love, teaching, and values that Dr. Teer used to forge NBT. I am amazed and deeply grateful for all the years and artists we have been able to shepherd and ready to bring on MORE new family members as we invest in the future. We want to fuel the next wave of creatives; to propel and center the power of the art that is needed to heal the trauma-filled and forgotten spaces. We want to activate one’s LIFE and by leaning into the three aspects of this program, we help guide that way forward.” 

- Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director of NBT 

"A fundamental slogan of our founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, is Keep Soul Alive, a mandate to promote a safe and fertile environment for Black artists to thrive, be uplifted, seen, heard, and nurtured as they stay committed to giving witness to their soul. Since the L.A.B program started 12 years ago, we have continued to expand it to support the mastery of one’s craft each year. The environment is intentionally surrounded by cultures that allow the soul to DREAM, explore, learn, and grow.  As a community of playwrights, directors, and future producers, L.A.B. Soul Series strives to create a pipeline of new talent and refreshing plays for Black audiences in the present and the future. This unique program is living up to the legacy of NBT in elevating, encouraging, and transforming artists, audiences, and managers through the work and to always, Keep Soul Alive."

- Belynda M’Baye, Soul Series L.A.B. Program Manager

The I AM SOUL - Playwrights Residency, which launched in 2012, is the only program with a commitment to production in the United States that is dedicated to Black playwrights, whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the theatrical field. Coined a ‘dream MFA’, this residency seeks to unleash the soul of a playwright so that they can develop, hone, and explore new ways of artistic expression in a safe, supportive, and transformative environment. Alongside NBT’s Artistic Director, the selected playwright(s) will be commissioned to develop a new play for a minimum of an eighteen-month residency. This process culminates with a Public Presentation in NBT’s theatrical season. All finalists and semi-finalists will be invited to participate in our Soul Reading Series, where they are granted a one-day micro-virtual development opportunity to work on a singular play with a company of actors and a director.  
With the I AM SOUL Residency, NBT seeks to deepen the artistic relationship between Black theatrical institutions and Black playwrights in order to re-establish Black theatrical institutions as the foremost supporters and producers of new works created by Black playwrights.

***Applications for the I AM SOUL – Playwrights Residency will be accepted beginning April 2, 2024. All applications must be received by May 8, 2024, at 11:59 pm EDT. To submit visit:

2023: a.k.payne, jeremy o’brian & Zola Dee
2022: Calley N. Anderson & Brian Egland 
2020: Kristen Adele Calhoun, Nathan Yungerberg & Fedna Jacquet
2019: SXR OM DXTCHXSS-DAVIS  & TyLie Shider
2018: Tracey Conyer Lee & Darrel Alejandro Holnes 
2017: Eric Micha Holmes & Lee Edward Colston II 
2016: Angelica Chéri & Derek Lee McPhatter
2015: Dennis A. Allen II & Nambi E. Kelley
2014: Aurin Squire
2013: Mfoniso Udofia  


National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation’s first revenue-generating Black arts complex, was founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. NBT is the longest-running Black theater in New York City, one of the oldest theaters founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation and most recently included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. NBT uses a multidisciplinary theatrical approach as a means to center, humanize and heal Black communities through the power of unapologetic Black storytelling.

NBT’s unique approach to Black liberation, Art, and Placemaking acts as a change agent to combat systemic oppression, which creates the space for human transformation. Under the leadership of Sade Lythcott, CEO, and Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, NBT’s three core programs—the Theater Arts Program, Communications Arts Program, and Entrepreneurial Arts Program—help reshape a more inclusive American theater field by providing an artistically rigorous and culturally sensitive space for artists of color to experiment, develop and present new work. Working with trailblazing artists from Nona Hendrix to Jeremy O. Harris, and helping to launch the careers, most recently, of artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Mfoniso Udofia, Saheem Ali, Lee Edward Colston II, and Ebony Noelle Golden, and incubating Obie Award-winning companies like The Movement Theatre Company and Harlem9’s 48Hours in Harlem, NBT’s cultural production remains unparalleled. Located in the heart of Harlem, NBT welcomes more than 90,000 visitors annually; has produced 300+ original works; won 56 Audelco Awards; received a CEBA Award of Merit; and has been nominated for multiple Drama Desk awards. NBT is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, City Council of New York, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Columbia Service Society, and private donations. Visit or follow NBT on Facebook (@NationalBlackTheatre) and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).