TPS Talks provide real-world stories and insights from working theatre professionals to college/university classrooms, corporate events, group organizations, and more! TPS Theatre Artists Mary McCallum, Kenley Smith, Shawn Whitsell and others - in virtual and/or live format - share their triumphs and challenges when writing, directing, producing, touring, and acting in theatre productions (often all at the same time) and will answer practical questions relevant to future theatre artists and others curious about theatre-making via our TPS Page to Stage series, TPS Playwright Process series (with access to virtual readings of accompanying plays), and TPS Special Topics series. Some talk topics include:
We also provide bookings of live Full Productions (when safe to do so) of plays from Destiny Theatre Experience, SistaStyle Productions and TPS for College/Universities, Corporate Events, Family Reunions, Social, Sororal and Fraternal Organizations and more! Or if you are looking for a new work to produce for your theatre/university, visit TPS Scripts for a full listing of award-winning scripts with diverse casts.
Our TPS Theatre Artists share their real-world experiences of creating a play from the original inspiration to the production (and everything in between)! Q&A session included.
Mary McCallum discusses her process writing, directing, producing and touring the award-winning historical fiction play Six Triple Eight.
Shawn Whitsell discusses his process of writing, directing and producing the critically acclaimed one-man-activist-play 23/1.
Kenley Smith discusses his process of writing, directing and producing the critically acclaimed historical fiction play MAIDENS.
Shawn Whitsell discusses his process of writing, directing, producing and touring the critically acclaimed family drama NEVER BEEN HOME.
Mary McCallum will discuss her foray into playwriting, producing and touring (and filmmaking!) with the dramedy THE 70% CLUB.
Kenley Smith will discuss his process of writing and the world premiere LA production of the sci-fi drama AKUMA SHIN.
Mary McCallum will discuss her process of writing, producing, and touring the award-winning comedy SINGLEVILLE.
Shawn Whitsell will discuss his process of writing, directing and producing the family drama PAPA WAS.
Mary McCallum will discuss her process of writing, directing and producing the historical drama HUNGER IN PARADISE.
Shawn Whitsell will discuss his process of writing, directing and producing the family drama BEYOND LOOSE TIES, including the process of bringing this play to Riverbend Maximum Security Prison
Kenley Smith will discuss his process of writing and producing the thriller DEVIL SEDAN in Roanoke, VA and its Nashville premiere with Playhouse Nashville..
Our TPS Playwrights share their real-world experiences of writing their plays. Q&A section included as well as virtual hosting and/or access to readings of each play as part of talk or prior to/after talk.
Molly Breen and/or Angela Gimlin will discuss writing (along with 8 other actor/playwrights) and planning for a full production of THAT WOMAN. Access to virtual reading available.
Preston Crowder will discuss his process for writing the gripping moral story DON'T LOOK BLACK. Access to virtual reading available.
Shawn Whitsell will discuss his writing process and plans for a full production of SINS OF THE CITY. Access to virtual reading available.
Mary McCallum will discuss her writing process for the award-winning historical fiction drama SIX TRIPLE EIGHT. Access to virtual reading available.
Kenley Smith will discuss his writing process for adapting source material from a high school classmate into the generational drama FAN ME WITH A BRICK. Access to virtual reading available.
With over 30 original plays between these TPS theatre artists, the possibilities are not quite endless, but certainly plentiful. See below for a list of plays available for both Playwright Process talks and/or live bookings at your College/University, Corporate or other group event.
Our TPS Theatre Artists share their experiences and insights on special topics unique to creating their own brands of theatre. Q&A session included.
Shawn Whitsell will discuss the ways he uses playwriting for social change - in particular his volunteer service with Riverbend Maximum Security prison in Nashville, bringing playwriting into the prison and plays from the incarcerated men into the community.
Kenley Smith will discuss his process of adapting source material from a high school classmate and lessons he has learned from this creative collaboration.
Mary McCallum and/or Kenley Smith will discuss writing historical fiction from creating plays from historical figures and events such as Bessie Coleman, the Tulsa Riots, female concentration camp officers in the 1946 Stutthof war crimes trial in Gdansk, the first all-Black female battalion in WW2 and more.
Mary McCallum will discuss her process of adapting her award-winning plays into award-winning screenplays, including THE 70% CLUB, SINGLEVILLE, SIX TRIPLE EIGHT, BLACK GIRL LOST, CHASING JEREMY and more!
Molly Breen has read over 300 plays over multiple years as a volunteer judge in a playwriting contest and has also been a first reader of manuscript submissions for a publishing company. She will discuss the things she has learned and can share with playwrights and others who wonder about the contest process, including tips to prepare your script for competition as well as 10 reasons not to be discouraged if you do not win!
Kenley Smith was owner of the K.W. "Pete" Smith Theatre in Roanoke Virginia from 2010-2012. He will discuss the theatre's history and closing for an inside look at owning a theatre space.
Mary McCallum and/or Shawn Whitsell share the story of creating and running their own theatre companies, SistaStyle Productions and Destiny Theatre Experience, for the past 20 years in Nashville.
The Shades of Black Theatre Festival was founded in 2006 and has been been running for 16 years. Mary McCallum and Shawn Whitsell, both co-founders of this Festival will discuss the creation and execution of this yearly festival and lessons learned from this experience.
Shawn Whitsell talks about his experience producing a festival of 7 of his original plays performed in 7 days.
Mary McCallum and/or Shawn Whitsell with discuss the experience of owning a Black theatre company in 2021 and hopes and challenges for Black theatre artists when live theatre resumes.
Looking for something different for a corporate event? A family reunion? An event for your organization? Book a Full Production of an original work by SistaStyle Productions. From comedies, to historical dramas, to contemporary issue dramas, to family friendly and/or holiday fare, we have a play for you!
Mary McCallum founded SistaStyle Productions in 2001 and serves as both Artistic Director and Executive Producer. She received her B.S. and M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Her theatre acting credits include THE MOUNTAINTOP, FLY, GIRL!, THE FACE OF EMMETT TILL, NEVER BEEN HOME, WAITIN' 2 END HELL, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, THE STORY, LYSISTRATA, THE DESIRE, PRETTY FIRE, LONG TIME SINCE YESTERDAY, LOUIE AND OPHELIA, HUNGER IN PARADISE, DANCE ON WIDOW'S ROW and CRY IT OUT. She has also appeared in several films & T.V. One’s Fatal Attraction. Writing highlights: Her play SINGLEVILLE was a winner of the D.C. Black Theatre Festival One Act Battle and was a mainstage selection for the National Black Theatre Festival. Her play SIX TRIPLE EIGHT took top prize at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival and Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. The movie version of SingleVille (writer, co-director, actress) won several awards in 2018 including Best Feature at the Twin Cities Black Film festival and the International Black Film Festival. CHASING JEREMY was a screenplay winner at the British Urban Film Festival and a finalist at the Urban World Film Festival. In 2019, she was a winner of the “Women Who Rock Nashville” award for the arts. In 2020, she was selected as librettist for Nashville Opera’s first mainstage commission ONE VOTE WON.
Kenley Smith is the co-founder and director of TPS. He founded Studio Roanoke, a not-for-profit Virginia theatre that specialized in the development and production of new works from 2009 to 2012. He also was an Ingram playwright-in-residence at Nashville Repertory Theatre for the 2011-12 season and served as artistic associate for The Writing Room at Nashville Rep from 2015-2017. His full-length play, AKUMA SHIN was a MainStage selection of the 2015 Great Plains Theatre Conference and premiered last spring at Sacred Fools Theatre Company in Los Angeles. EMPIRES OF THE ETERNAL VOID developed through the Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Lab, was a MainStage Selection at the 2013 GPTC. DEVIL SEDAN was featured in 2008 at GPTC and has been produced by Baby D Productions in Omaha and by Studio Roanoke, as well as a professional production in 2013 at Playhouse Nashville. DEVIL SEDAN won first place at the Barter Theatre’s 2008 Festival of Appalachian Plays and Playwrights and took top honors in the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Joe McCabe Memorial Playwriting Competition in 2009. SHADE OF THE TREES, a 2010 Barter finalist, went up at Studio Roanoke in August, 2009, and his “Famous Bobby Pence” trilogy – consisting of DEVIL SEDAN, TWELVE STATIONS OF THE CROSS and THE BRAND New Testament - was produced there in 2010-11. MONKEY WRENCH was produced at Studio Roanoke in April, 2012. Kenley earned an M.F.A. in Playwriting and an M.A. in English and Creative Writing, both from Hollins University. He has taught playwriting at Randolph College, the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, and the Fall Creative Writing Conference at Middle Tennessee State University.
Shawn Whitsell is a father, activist, poet and teaching artist. He is also an actor, playwright, director, producer and founder of the Destiny Theatre Experience. His one-man show 23/1 was named "Best Blend of Theater and Activism" by the Nashville Scene, for its message about solitary confinement and mass incarceration. When he isn't onstage, he visits schools and community spaces, teaching spoken word for Southern Word and drama for a number of arts institutions. He also serves as a volunteer for the School for Alternative Learning & Transformation (SALT) at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Shawn was a 2020 Nashville New Leaders Council fellow and is currently a member of the NLC board. He also serves on the boards of Street Theatre Company and Rooftop Nashville. He is a member of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board and the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Task Force for Nashville Organized For Action and Hope (NOAH).
include Molly Breen, Angela Gimlin and Yalewa Sparrowhawk.