Dates and some of the playwrights have been announced for second annual National Native American Ten Minute Play Festival, which will grow by 50 percent this year as it gives voice to stories and artists who are under-represented in American theater.

The festival, which takes place in both St Paul and Minneapolis this year, will have 15 playlets by 17 playwrights, all under the aegis of New Native Theatre.

Started by playwright and New Native founder Rhiana Yazzie, the festival seeks to seed the field with fresh talent and stories, and has served as a kind of catalyst for Native American arts. The inaugural line-up featured varied works that wrestled with traditional and contemporary subjects. They were written by new and established veterans, and performed by a versatile acting company that included Ajuawak Kapashesit (pictured above in a photo by John Ratzloff). 

Last year's roster included a playlet by veteran playwright William S. Yellowrobe, Jr., who has an entry in this year's festval. He is joined by such new playwrights as Allan Gross of Leech Lake; Red Lake Ojibwe Deanna Standingcloud, who made acting debut in the 2016 festival; and Shannon CrossBear of the Lake Superior Ojibwe Fort William First Nation.

“When we share our stories, we carry the past forward,” CrossBear said in a statement.

The 2017 National Native American Ten Minute Play Festival runs Aug. 23-26 at Gremlin Theatre, and Aug. 27 at Franklin Avenue Open Streets, the outdoor amphitheater at the Minneapolis American Indian Center