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Every 28 Hours Plays

In 2012 a study found that every 28 hours a black person was extrajudicially killed by vigilante, security guard, or the police in the United States.  This statistic was immediately contested and the country is still embroiled with addressing a problem it struggles to acknowledge.

Produced by Claudia Alick and CALLING UP, The Every 28 Hours Plays project was originally developed with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The One-Minute Play Festival with over one-hundred artistic collaborators across the country. Collaborators include Tony award-winning artists, activists, family members directly affected by police violence, politicians, cultural organizers, and law enforcement.

The project consists of over seventy short plays that reflect the current civil rights movement, and tools to help your community address these issues, grow empathy, and become healthier. We offer the plays on a Pay What You Can model as part of our philosophy of radical generosity.

The collection of plays has served over thirty communities in collaboration with arts organizations, colleges and  universities, and businesses. Read below to find out how we have managed to touch so many lives. 

The Ferguson Moment

In August of 2014, Claudia Alick created a project called The Ferguson Moment in collaboration with artists from The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Mica Cole and Sharifa Johka, and artists from across the U.S., and St. Louis such as Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Tlaloc Rivas, Jacqueline Lawton, The Theater Communications Group, Katy Rubin, Danny Bryck, Rebecca Martinez, Jacqueline Thompson and Don McClendon, Shanara Gabrielle, Chris Hanson, Andrea Parnell, Ron Himes and others. As news of Michael Brown’s death came forward, we connected with theatre artists in Ferguson and across the nation.

We came together to spark and organize a national artistic response to the oppression, violence, and resistance happening in Ferguson, MO and its relationship to all of our communities and United States history. The project took place over three days where we witnessed, served, and collaborated in artistic exchange. This open source project built the bridges for each of us to continue artistic exploration in our own organizations

Click here to learn about the Ferguson Moment

A National Collaboration

A National Collaboration

Claudia Alick decided to continue the work of The Ferguson Moment with a national multi-perspective approach. She worked with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and reached out to short form theater maker Dominic D’Andrea and The One‐Minute Play Festival (1MPF), and Jacqueline Thompson in St. Louis to continue. The Every 28 Hours Plays were created with the goal of capturing the history in the making of our current Civil Rights Movement and giving us something to respond. The title of the project is inspired by the contested nature of the statistic that every twenty-eight hours a black person is killed by security guard, vigilante, or police by extrajudicial violence. When the Malcolm Grass Roots Movement released their report, the claim went viral, inspiring denial and questions about their methodology. For us this raised the larger question: every 28 hours, every 48, every 98, how many hours would it take for this not to be a national issue of vital importance? #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17 year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. We use #Every28Hours because as a nation #BlackLivesMatter is still being treated as a question.

This project centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements such as black queer and trans folk, undocumented, and black women as a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement. They are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state, and acknowledge the ways in which Black lives are deprived of basic human rights and dignity. As described in Time Magazine, “The movement is also made up of countless other protest groups that emerged from the streets of Ferguson, with names like We the Protesters and Hands-Up United. The prevalence of the Black Lives Matter hashtag prompted media outlets to seize the phrase as shorthand for the struggle writ large. The new civil rights movement had its rallying cry” (Altman).

While all theater is a political act, we have always been very clear that this piece of theater was created without a singular political viewpoint. Our curatorial process was open, and we asked our playwrights to reflect on the civil rights movement that is happening today and the events that inspire the Black Lives.

Matter movement. The process has included dialogue with both law enforcement and activists, and it continues to. Theater, culture workers, and law enforcement are designed to serve the community in their own unique ways. Theater offers a space to explore our differences, find our commonalities, and practice empathy.


During Phase One, theatres and playwrights around the country connected to craft a selection of one minute plays around that theme, or sent artists to St. Louis to develop the work on the ground.

Click here to learn more about Phase One of project


During Phase Two, guest artists traveled to St. Louis to engaged in a week of artistic exchange with St. Louis-based artists. All attended a lecture in UMSL Touhill Theatre by Dr. Terry Jones on race relations, and the history of St. Louis that led to the events in Ferguson; met with Duane Fosters’ students at Normandy High School (Michael Brown’s school); toured Ferguson with artist/activist Marty Casey; and facilitated a conversation with activists, artivists, and a police officer at The Urban League. All of this rich community engagement and artistic exploration seeded a environment to write more original plays on-site that were then integrated with the at-large collection. The entire collection of plays was then presented as staged readings in St. Louis at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and in Ferguson at the Dellwood Recreation Center, on October 23, 2015.

Click here to learn about Phase Two of the project


Theaters such as Trinity Repertory Theatre in Rhode Island, American Conservatory Theater, The Kennedy Center, Capturing Fire Queer Poets Summit in Washington DC, The TCG National Conference, MacCarter Theater with Princeton university, Howard University, The Aquarium in Kansa City, Watts Village Theater Company in LA , The Langston Hughes Center in Seattle and others engaged with the plays in 2016-1017 creating dynamic action and change in their communities. “The activist community in Rhode Island has been present and vocal in the face of the national #blacklivesmatter movement,” said Trinity Rep’s Community Engagement Coordinator Rebecca Noon. “We need to open the city’s public spaces to engage in this big conversation. ‘Every 28 Hours’ promises to be one of those nights where art connects people around a life-and-death matter.” (Providence Journal)

Click here to learn about Phase Three of the project


Today the project is managed by Claudia Alick and Calling Up! A transmedia company facilitating scripts for social justice.  The plays continue to provide a necessary tool to help us engage with this continuing national crisis. There are so many ways to engage.  The continued work being done across the nation is inspiring. We invite you to engage with us today!