You asked and we delivered!
Following the feedback from our successful Town Hall, we are launching our new programming initiative, exclusive to Keys: the RoK Monthly Workshop Series! 
Self Care = Self Love, facilitated by Viviana Vargas (they/them). Cost is $20/person.

DATE: September 29, 2019
TIME: 1-3pm
Location: TBD
A new section featuring KEY PROJECTS that need a little help!
Minneapolis Key, Sarah Julius, is looking for help to get her new musical, Great Big Rainbow World, to the stage in 2020! Donate $5 or more for an awesome sticker! (P.S. — GBRW features five additional Key members!)
Need help financing a new project? Looking to fill a position? Have a space you can offer? Searching for a running buddy? Submit your asks and offers to for inclusion in the October newsletter!

Briyana Clarel & Starfruit Project

Briyana D. Clarel (they/them) is a Black queer writer, performer, and educator passionate about musical theatre, mangoes, and memoirs. They are the founder of The Starfruit Project, an initiative supporting radical healing and brilliant growth through creativity. Based in Philly, they write and perform sketch comedy with their teams The Rhubarbs and Mural Outrage. Briyana's solo show unboxed: a healing debuted at the 2018 OUTsider Festival and they directed Rage to Heal, a piece devised by a black cast exploring rage toward healing, as part of the 2017 Cohen New Works Festival. They are the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Homology Lit and their writing has found homes with Black Youth Project, MELANINzine, cavity, TAYO Literary Magazine, and several anthologies. Briyana loves blueberry pancakes, colorful combat boots, and dancing even when people want them to be still. Keep up with their adventures @briyanaclarel and


  Photo credit: James Jackson

Can you tell us about the work you do in Philly to queer the stage?

I primarily queer the stage by just existing.

Sharing my non-binary gender on audition forms, introducing my they/them pronouns in rehearsal, and choosing affirming costumes are some ways I've shown up queerly and authentically. 

I also started writing and performing sketch comedy since moving to Philly. It is this great artistic outlet where I can sing, make musical theatre references, and stage a TV show where Hades ruins gender reveals. I started writing all my characters as either non-binary or without a gender specified, and it's been heartening seeing my teammates shift their writing as well.

I queer the stage as a writer, director, performer, reluctant producer, and audience member. I won't attend or be involved in shows that do not value my humanity. I potentially made some enemies my first few months here when I pushed back against two white straight cisggender women who were writing and directing an original show about queer and trans people of color. That work is important too.

You are the founder of The Starfruit Project, which supports radical healing and brilliant growth through creative writing and performance programs centered on queer and trans people of color. Can you tell us about some of the upcoming programming you have going on? 

It’s the first year of Free Fringe in Philly and I'm producing a free showcase featuring works-in-progress by Black lgbtq artists. It's coming up on Monday, September 23rd at 8pm at Vox Populi, for anyone in the area! I'm thrilled with the amount of interest in this showcase, both from participating artists and folks in the community. Future showcases and supportive groups for writers are coming soon!

I'll be offering a few writing workshops over the next few months for folks in the Philadelphia area. Folks in other areas can keep an eye out for more juiciness on the website, and I do take workshop requests! 

What do you love most about the queer Philly theatre community?

I'm fairly new to Philly, but I love being surrounded by such vibrant queer theatre, comedy, and performance. I've been really inspired by everyone's drive to make new work. So many pieces are being written and devised beyond the existing mainstream theatre spaces. The Free Fringe festival (as well as the regular, expensive one) has so many queer shows this year and it's been exciting to see the creative venues folks are using to share their art with the city.

I’ve gotten to work with incredible queer and trans artists and have been especially grateful to be in the same city as so many brilliant and gifted Black queer and trans artists.

Why did you want to be a Key?

Growing up as a musical theatre kid, I believed these stories about the theatre being a welcoming place for gay people. As I got older, I learned that safety was for gay cisgender white men. Even as an "out" queer person, I've had to navigate theatre spaces built on heteronormative transphobia and anti-black racism. When I came across RoK, I was excited to see a space that recognizes that queer women, trans, and gender non-conforming artists have different experiences, and that our work and stories are just as important. I feel stronger knowing there's a network dedicated to supporting and celebrating each other.


We love this conversation piece on trans and non-binary actors in Chicago, featuring Keys Catherine Miller, Parker Guidry, and Hannah Starr.
"A common argument is that acting invites the unknown, so cis actors should be able to play trans characters. The problem is that trans actors are unable to separate embodiment from their art, as each informs the other."
Do you have work that you want us to showcase? Let us know! Reply to this email, or use the hashtag #ringofkeys on your social media posts so we can know about all the great stuff going on with our Members.
Be sure to check out our growing KEY member directory!
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