Julie Whitney Scott

Julie Whitney-Scott is the founder/Artistic Director for Mine 4 God Productions (M.4.G.P.) and the Columbus Black Theatre Festival that will celebrate its 10th year July 8th – 10th, 2022 at the Columbus Performing Arts Center and July 16th – 17th, 2022 at The Abbey Theater of Dublin

Let’s Talk Theatre: Why did you start the Columbus Black Theatre Festival (CBTF) in Columbus, Ohio?
Julie: I started the CBTF because I wanted to see the stories of Black/Brown people on the stage. As a Black female playwright, myself, I found that there was no place for my work to be produced by the, what seemed to be, traditional theatre companies in Central Ohio. As I began to produce my own plays, I wondered how I could make a difference in my theatre community that would provide a place for other Black/Brown artists work to be seen, heard, and produced so that others could see themselves and the people that they lived with in society on the stage. The goal was to share their stories.

Let’s Talk Theatre: What was the most difficult thing for you in starting the CBTF?
Julie: The most difficult thing in the start was getting people to believe that I would be able to bring playwrights from other states to Columbus and that my goal would fail if I kept “Black” in the title of the event. Some of the first people on the planning committee felt that the title was too “black” and therefore the theatre community in Columbus would not support the CBTF. Needless to say, I quickly removed those people from the committee. Today there are only three original founding committee members still with me and the CBTF. Felicia A. Shanklin Faith Ray and myself Julie Whitney Scott.

Let’s Talk Theatre: How did you overcome that difficulty?
Julie: Hard work, determination, and persistence. I have always been a problem-solver. If I see a problem in how something is working, I brainstorm ways to correct it. I seek feedback and assistance from the people who I trust that also believe in my vision and that it can be achieved. I supported the CBTF with my own money for 8 years without any other financial support, grants, or loans. People performed and directed the plays for me without a fee because they wanted and needed a place to share their theatre talents with an audience. I believe in prayer and pray for the CBTF to be a success and reach others. And it has done just that across the world.

Let’s Talk Theatre: How do you ensure inclusion of all in your festival?
Julie: We accept plays from all playwrights, regardless of race or gender or sexual preference.  Our requirements are that the stories must have Black/Brown characters, are not demeaning or offensive towards others. We use directors/actors/tech etc. that are diversed. We use artists with developmental disabilities. We pride ourselves on pushing forward diversity/inclusion and equity in the theatre community here in Central Ohio and beyond.

Let’s Talk Theatre: What is the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Julie: I like the diversity that we have in the theatre companies. I like working with other theatre companies on and behind the stage. It allows me to network and meet other theatre lovers like myself. As the current 1st Vice President of the Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable, I get to also help plan and implement improvement and continued excellence in theatre productions. The best thing about the Columbus art scene right now is the diversity that is being shared.

The Columbus Black Theatre Festival is an annual event that takes place July 8-17th in Columbus and Dublin Ohio. They are accepting play submission December 1, 2021, until January 31, 2022. For entry form/information go to Ticket info will be posted on the web site starting in April 2022.  Learn more about Julie Whitney-Scott on the web site or