The 2016 festival’s focus will be works by black female playwrights including Alice Childress, Lydia R. Diamond and Adrienne Kennedy.

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Intiman Theatre Festival’s fifth season, announced Tuesday (March 1), will celebrate works for the stage by black women.

Major productions include Lydia R. Diamond’s “Stick Fly,” (May 24-June 19 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute) and Alice Childress’ “Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White,” (Sept. 6-Oct. 2 at the University of Washington’s Jones Playhouse). The season also will include a series of readings, a program for emerging artists and a gathering of working black writers.

Festival co-curator Valerie Curtis-Newton, also the head of acting and directing at the UW School of Drama and artistic director for the Hansberry Project, said she and Andrew Russell, Intiman’s artistic director and co-curator, chose the two plays to juxtapose the contemporary with the historical: “Stick Fly” centers on a contemporary affluent family, while “Wedding Band” takes place in 1918.

Russell can still recall watching “Stick Fly” when it debuted on Broadway in 2012.

“It’s an incredibly funny, sharp, surprising, honest family play about what happens when a family gathers and secrets are revealed and the truth comes out,” he said.

“Right now, theaters around the country know three black writers: Lynn Nottage, Katori Hall and Dominique Morisseau,” added Curtis-Newton. “So we thought it would be a great opportunity to help people know her [Diamond] too. She’s very talented and people are drawn to her work.”

Childress’ “Wedding Band” — about a black seamstress and her white lover in South Carolina at a time when interracial marriage was forbidden — will be directed by Curtis-Newton.

She also directed Childress’ “Trouble in Mind,” staged by Intiman in 2013.

“Childress is a touchstone for me as someone who was able to take a really hard issue of race and artfully express it in a way that continues the conversation,” Curtis-Newton said.

“When I was a young director just beginning, I worked mostly for black companies making black work, and it was sort of segregated conversation. What she’s saying is we can’t have the conversation in an insular way, and she stood up for that and found ways to be really artful in her politics.

“That was a great lesson for me that I didn’t have to be strident, that I could engage people, that I could make great work and that people would ask questions,” she said.

Curtis-Newton also emphasized that despite the theme, half of the cast of “Wedding Band” will be white — she said there will be a “rainbow” of people participating in the festival.

Other events include the Emerging Artists Program, a free professional training program that will conclude in August with a showcase featuring playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s work.

Russell said 150 people applied for 28 spots last year, and Intiman expects around 200 applications this year for the six-week program.

The Hansberry Project will hold a series of play readings in July and a gathering of working black female writers in September. Five local writers will be invited to the festival to share some of their work, Curtis-Newton said.

“It’s not so much about black writers, but how to develop deeper relationships with a broader community and issues of representation,” Curtis-Newton said. “These writers are just an example of stories that don’t get told when we do things the way we’ve always done them.

“Hopefully after this summer there will be even more hunger in the community for these kinds of stories coming out so we can hear the stories of Asian and Asian-American writers, we can hear Latino and Latina stories, we can hear Native American stories, we can hear working-class stories,” she said, pausing to add, “We are hungry for more plates on the table.”