About Us

  • Mission Statement

    The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival (TBTF), organized by the 501©(3) non-profit theatre company RL Stage Inc., launched the Summer of 2014. The mission of the TBTF is to unite artists and theatre-goers within and beyond the Tampa Bay Area for an amazing weekend of education and entertainment. Attendees experience powerful, informative workshops led by trained professionals, networking events, and monologue, short-play, and full-length competitions that will leave audiences with a memorable experience.

    RL Stage from rlstageinc on Vimeo.

  • The Festival Founders



    Rory Lawrence has passionately pursued the arts since high school. He has studied various acting methods and techniques with both local and national coaches. In 2009, Rory began directing and producing classic plays such as 12 Angry Men and A Raisin In The Sun, and writing his own works, such as Between Calls, Fighting God, and Hour Confessions. Rory has had two of his originals plays accepted to national theatre festivals and he has traveled the east coast with his amazing cast and crew. To date, Rory’s shows have been performed before thousands of audience members throughout Florida, Georgia, and Washington, DC. Rory also is honored to have been voted Best Positive Force For Theatre during the 2015 Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Awards.

    As he began to focus more on writing and directing, Rory along with his wife, Kahlila Lawrence, cultivated a vision that would positively impact the arts community throughout the Tampa Bay area. Kahlila is a passionate educator, who values the arts and has a background in acting, singing, classical dance, and stage managing. With Rory and Kahlila’s combined areas of expertise, this powerhouse couple has ambitiously worked towards accomplishing something much bigger than they could ever imagine.

    With a desire to continue providing the community with quality theatre, Rory and Kahlila seek to provide actors, directors, writers, and others with professional learning opportunities. They also have maintained a passion for creating a platform for others in an effort to increase their visibility and exposure. Over the past 6 years, this powerhouse couple has produced full-length plays, acting showcases, and fundraising events for community organizations such as Moffitt Cancer Center. They’ve also hosted acting workshops and networking events with expert coaches and panelists. Rory and Kahlila believe in the importance of creating professional learning opportunities that help others grow in their careers, while also giving back to the community. Once they were able to develop a diverse team of dedicated and talented individuals, the 2014 Tampa Bay Theatre Festival was birthed.

    The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival is a nationally-recognized event. During this 3-day festival, both aspiring and seasoned actors, writers, and directors come together to network and learn from local professionals. Attendees also have the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the industry during an interactive, celebrity-led acting workshop. Among these attendees are a select group of high school students who are passionate about theatre and are awarded a scholarship, created by Kahlila, which enables them to attend festival events. The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival also invites the community to experience the talent of those participating in monologue, short play, and full-length play competitions.

    Rory and Kahlila have a deep faith which allows them to believe in what may seem impossible. They recognize the divine purpose that their lives have individually, and as a couple. Rory and Kahlila also value the time and effort that their team has committed to help their vision come to fruition. They look forward to continuing to positively impact the Tampa Bay community, one event at a time.

    It’s time to experience theatre.

  • Festival Manager

    You know how no one was able to reach the Wizard of Oz when they wanted him? Well that’s pretty much how it will be trying to find Rory and Kahlila the weekend of the festival. So, Kimberly will be overseeing all festival activities as the festival manager. From September 1st through 3rd, Kimberly can be reached at 813-786-1915 or tampabaytheatrefestival@gmail.com. Kimberly Blackmon
    -Kimberly Blackmon

  • Webmasters / Geeks

    Yes, we all need them. Our web and tech gurus, Guy and Nick, make sure that this site is up to par and running on all cylinders. So, if there is an issue with the site, blame them. 🙂
    -Guy D. & Nick Naylor

  • Volunteer Committee / The Regulators

    Remember back in the day when you had that angry lunch lady that never smiled and just wanted you to keep the line moving? Well, that’s exactly how this crew is, except we do ask them to smile. This team makes sure that all goes well at all events and venues.
    -Davina Reid, Ronald Wilford, Jay Washington, & Lee Lee Lapointe

  • Party Committee / Full Monty Crew

    Does this department really need an explanation? Well, they make sure that when it’s time to celebrate… IT IS TRULY A CELEBRATION! The word festival literally means “to come together for a celebration”…and that’s what we plan to do at the awards gala.
    -Denise Deneen

  • Marketing Committee / Paper Pushers

    This crew makes sure that the world knows that we are here. So if you feel like you are being stalked with press releases, phone calls, and emails, these are the culprits!
    -Rod Grant, Andrea Sistrunk, Fatimah Abdur-Rahim, Fran Meadows & Octavia Smith