Monday, April 15, 2024

New Work Writers’ Series Brings African American Drama to the Stage

New Works Writers Series, Northwest Ohio’s oldest independently operating African American theater organization, is coming back to the Maumee Indoor Theatre this May after showcasing the spectacular Tales of Zora Neale Hurston production. “Tales of Zora Neale Hurston is a powerful story with themes that still resonate,” Hunt said.

Growth in the Community

New Works has played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of emerging talents, many of whom have become prominent figures in their communities and achieved success in their respective careers. The organization’s innovative concept has been widely embraced, creating opportunities for individuals who might not otherwise have a chance to showcase their artistic gifts.

“We welcome back New Works Writers Series to the Maumee Indoor family,” Sara Eiden, Maumee Indoor Theatre’s supervisor of operations, said. “We’re looking forward to showcasing these talented actors and actresses that drive impactful performances.”

Founded in December 1989 by Imelda Hunt, the New Works Writers Series (New Works) is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to providing a platform for local writers, poets, musicians and actors. Through the years, New Works has organized workshops, ethnic plays, seminars and various events to showcase the talents of individuals in the community. Since its inception, the organization has successfully produced over 50 plays, history publications, open poetry forums and musical performances.

Meet the Founder

Imelda Hunt, a multifaceted individual, serves as a playwright, director and poet. Actively engaged in the arts community, she is a member of both the Black Theatre Network and the National Conference on African American Theatre. In 2009, she was honored with a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. 


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“We started out as a small workshop,” Hunt said. “I am extremely happy to see that the group has stayed together and has been able to put on these amazing productions.”

Currently, Imelda Hunt imparts her wealth of knowledge as an educator at Owens College in Toledo. With a background steeped in education, playwriting and poetry, she completed her doctoral program at Bowling Green State University with a dissertation titled “The Oral History of Art Tatum in Toledo, Ohio 1910-1932.” Her professional journey extends beyond academia, encompassing over twenty-five years of service as a principal and teacher in the Toledo area.

Imelda Hunt brings a unique blend of creative and educational expertise to the classroom, fostering a dynamic learning environment. Recognized for her contributions, she has received several community awards, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2009 and the UT Upward Bound Summer Program Best Teacher award in 2010. Her dedication to both the arts and education continues to leave a lasting impact on those she teaches and the communities she serves.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to expand our audience and, at the same time, give our loyal supporters a different backdrop where they can experience New Works shows,” Hunt said.

Get Involved

“New Works is always looking for more talented individuals,” Hunt said. “Those interested can contact us on our website.”

The support for New Works has been substantial, with funding received from various sources, including the Ohio Humanities Council, Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Toledo Museum of Art, ECAP of BGSU and others. The organization’s commitment to promoting and celebrating local artistic talents continues to make a significant impact on the cultural landscape of Northwest Ohio.

Get involved! For more information, visit newworkswritersseries.org.

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