Show Up and Act Up!

Because you have to show up to show out

SHOW UP features interviews with television, film, and theater producers, directors, casting directors, agents, and other acting industry professionals who can help actors book.

Qualah, Managing Producer of ACT UP! — “The only open mic for writers and actors”

Qualah is an actor, producer, and the managing producer of ACT UP!, billed as “the only open mic for writers and actors.” The event takes place on 2nd Thursdays. Admission ranges from $15 to $25 with limited slots available.

I met Qualah when I attended my first ACT UP! in December 2019, which marked the event’s first anniversary. While there, I was excited to see writers and actors come together to stage new work. I even got to participate as a narrator of a scene from a work-in-progress episodic.

I’m happy to present an interview with Qualah as my first SHOW UP post.

How did you get involved with ACT UP?
In August 2018, I met Hip Hop Film Festival (HHFF) founder CR Capers at the Lillian Project at Harlem Business Alliance. We started talking and I immediately liked her energy and personality. We became friends instantly and the rest is history

Why did you agree to join the ACT UP! Team?
I volunteered at the HHFF festival in August 2018 where CR launched ACT UP! I loved what I saw and I also loved the opportunity it gave actors. So after the festival was over, C R and I talked about how amazing it would be to do this monthly. As an actor, I know how hard it is to get into rooms with screenwriters, directors, producers etc. I wanted to support actors and help build a community where actors get to work out and show off their skills with the people they may never get a chance to work with again.

What have been highlights of ACT UP! so far?
Everything! Watching how everyone connects, the speed casting, the rehearsals, then the performances. Watching actors bring characters to life on stage is amazing to me. And the scripts are so vast and colorful. You never get the same thing twice.

Take readers through a typical ACT UP! event from start to finish as actor and writers.
First we network, then it’s the speed casting, then rehearsals, then dinner break, more rehearsals, then it’s showtime, and then networking after the performances.

What can readers look forward to next year?
We are expanding into Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Tell us one of your most memorable ACT UP! stories.
Wow, there are so many! One of my most memorable stories was when I asked Julito McCullum — [who played Namond Brice on the HBO series The Wire] — to be our celebrity narrator and he said, “I heard about it! Yes! I’ll do it!” I was hyped!

The makers of Final Draft screenwriting software have been ACT UP!’s sponsor from the start. What are you looking for or do you need — in terms of people power, resources, or whatever — that you don’t have right now?
I would like production houses to get involved, casting directors, agents, managers and the other casting sites to join in. ACT UP! is the home for creatives.

ACT UP!
January 16, 2020, 5pm-11pm
National Black Theater
2037 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10035

If someone wants to learn more about ACT UP! how do they do that?
They can follow my IG @qualahquickie.

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