Great ideas are often born through challenging times, says Chantal Maurice, actor
and founder of CoStar Coaching.
When the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists unions went on strike earlier this year, Maurice thought of an outlet for local strikers to keep their creativity in motion.
“Artists struggle when they aren't able to exercise their gifts and talents,” she said. “The strike impacted artists mentally and financially, but The Spotlight Series allowed me to create something of purpose; a reason for artists to continue to create within the strike rules.”
The Spotlight Series, an evening of seven original 10-minute plays by Atlanta-based writers, directors and producers, will debut at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Paul Robeson Theater at ArtsXchange, 2148 Newnan St. in East Point.
The ArtsXchange is sponsoring the event as part of its Paul Robeson Theater Incubator program, which provides free performance space for independent and emerging playwrights who embody his legacy.
A nine-year career in TV and film has connected Maurice to many. Thus, she was able to “network across,” a term Issa Rae coined, she said, to find writers, directors and producers.
“Any opportunity that I get, I will always look to the left and right of me and push my peers forward,” Maurice said.
The plays tackle various sociopolitical matters, especially those plaguing Atlanta.
“Sibling’s Keeper,” written by Kim Akia, exposes various forms of sex trafficking and the plight of the rescuing process, with Atlanta following Washington, D.C. in the highest rates of human trafficking.
“Mask Off," written by Kayla Bennett, explores the role news media play in creating negative narratives about marginalized communities. And Onaji Rouse’s "Getting Repped” highlights racial discrimination in the workplace.
While The Spotlight Series began solely for creators, Maurice said it has evolved her goals, such as her plan to partner with corporate diversity and inclusion departments to create more inclusive workspaces, using theater to highlight equity issues.
“Art is one of the most powerful tools in activism because it forces people to feel,” she said. “Theater has the power to evoke emotions and broaden perspectives. It can empower people to take action.”
Tickets are $30 and are available online or at the door.