The Playwrights Initiative
A residency program with Endstation Theatre Company and the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.

Annually each summer, we foster innovative, emerging playwrights, we develop their work, and through that work, we start a dialogue with the community.

We recently added the post of History Commission Playwright, and with this addition, we will wrestle with the historical, cultural, and regional nuances of Sweet Briar, Central Virginia, and rural Appalachia.
The Playwrights Initiative
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In rehearsal for In Sweet Remembrance with our playwright, Tearrance Chisholm and director, Michael Stablein, Jr.
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Marrying fact and fiction in his latest work, In Sweet Remembrance, Tearrance A. Chisholm visits the grave site of Sterling Jones at the First Baptist Church of Coolwell in Amherst, VA. Sterling, a long-time employee of Sweet Briar College, and the last resident of the former slave quarters behind the President’s House, is a fictionalized, historical device within the play.
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Our History Commission Playwright, Tearrance A. Chisholm on the Tony Camm Radio Show in Lynchburg, VA talking about the structure and origins of his latest work, In Sweet Remembrance. “It’s basically Roots meets A Christmas Carol.”
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Hattie Marshalyn Yeargin (known best by her peers as ‘Penny’) was the first African American student to graduate from Sweet Briar College in 1968.
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From the scrapbook of Sweet Briar student Gertrude Prior (ca. 1929).  Among these programs and other ephemera from her college years preserved in her scrapbook, Prior also took photos of the library’s construction, hiking trails she loved, and even preserved some now-crumbled blossoms in envelopes, etc. There are few snapshots of the African-American workers in the early 1900s, and the fact that a student, presumably, took them is fascinating. (via Meridith De Avila Kahn.)
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Our playwright, Tearrance Chisholm, paying a visit to the former slave cottage which still stands on Sweet Briar College’s campus. We took the opportunity, with college photographer Meridith De Avila Khan, to shoot some portraits of Tearrance who is currently in residence at the VCCA finishing the manuscript for In Sweet Remembrance, an original work dealing with the past, present, and future of Sweet Briar College.
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Hattie Marshalyn Yeargin (known best by her peers as ‘Penny’) was the first African-American student admitted to and enrolled at Sweet Briar College, in 1966.
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The Negro Servants. Jessamine Chapman Williams, March 17, 1953.
Our playwright, Tearrance Chisholm, culls dialogue from historical documents such as these to marry the fact and fiction of Sweet Briar’s past and present in his new work, In Sweet Remembrance.