The Boston Theater Company is gearing up to host the city's first annual Queer Voices Festival. The festival will feature a submission-based showcase of seven unique 10-minute plays written by New England playwrights that will share the stories, resilience and diverse perspectives of the LGBTQ+ community.

The festival kicks off Friday, March 8 at the Plaza Theatre of the Boston Center for the Arts. GBH's All Things Considered host Arun Rath spoke about the festival with it's producer, Joey Frangieh. What follows is a lightly edited transcript.

Arun Rath: It's super exciting to see the start of a new tradition. It's easier said than done, so tell us a bit about how the idea came together.

Joey Frangieh: Yeah, absolutely. The festival is being produced by the Boston Theater Company. We're a local small 501c3 nonprofit that is dedicated to creating experiences for and about marginalized communities. We are specifically committed to the LGBTQ+ community and creating spaces and amplifying voices that are often left out. We've been working with the LGBTQ+ community for many years now, both artistically and in our athletic programing, where we do an all-inclusive 5K during Pride.

Throughout the years, we've thought about how can we amplify queer voices. We thought that a 10-minute play festival would be a really fun and unique way to do it because it allows us to have multiple voices in one night. So it's not just one playwright's ideas, it's seven playwrights, three directors, nine performers, designers, production managers — all coming together in one night of storytelling.

Rath: That makes for, I would have to think, a really intense production, jamming all that together, getting the timing right. Tell us how the production has been.

Frangieh: This is what we do. This is what we're passionate about. So, of course, it's a lot of work, but we're constantly inspired by the stories that we're able to tell and the entire team really takes this job and this project as a commitment to our core values and to our mission at Boston Theater Company. So, there's a lot of work, a lot of late nights and early mornings, but we're so passionate about telling these stories and the ability that theater has to unite us and to challenge us and to question the world that we live in.

Rath: And let's talk about the stories. I hate to ask you to to just pick one, but could you give us a sense of maybe one of these stories?

Frangieh: Yeah, absolutely. There's this play called “Remembering When I Used to Remember” by Patrick Riviere, who's a local playwright from the Cape. It's a really loving story about love and the tale of time. It's this couple, one of whom is dealing with dementia, and the other one struggles to communicate with them.

What's really powerful is that it's not two perfect people. It's two very flawed people, figuring out how to work together in this crazy world. It's just this really powerful heartstrings story that, when multiple of us read it, we were just sobbing in a coffee shop. It's such a powerful love story, and it was so different than all the others. There's a lot of comedies, there's a lot of dark drama, and this one just was a really, really heartbreaking romance love story.

Rath: You mentioned a bit about the selection process. Were you expecting to get upwards of 75 submissions? What was it like going through them all?

Frangieh: Absolutely not. We were terrified that we were going to get like four submissions. The mission of this project is to amplify voices, but if there aren't voices to amplify, then we knew that we would have had to completely readjust. So I, personally, was terrified. The team, I think, was a little bit more confident. So we opened submissions and our submissions were free. There were no barriers. There were no topics that people had to focus on. It was literally just upload a 10-minute play, no questions, no nothing.

And we were blown away by the 75. Picking seven from the 75 was nearly impossible. We were very lucky that we had a team of volunteer readers, all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and we all read dozens and dozens of these 10-minute plays. So every play was read multiple times, and we just democratically had to vote and we had to give ratings to what we thought would be the most important to fit into this night. We ended up with these seven.

But it really inspired us that these voices are out there, and that they need to be heard. That really inspired us to kick off this year and say that this is the first — and that we're coming back, and we've got more stories to tell. We've got more voices out there that we want to be heard, and we're hoping to to really grow and work on that.

Rath: We're very excited to talk with you at the first, and we've got to have you back again for the second. Joey, thanks so much.

Frangieh: Yeah, thanks so much.

The Boston Theater Company's Queer Voices Festival runs March 8-10 at the Plaza Theatre of the Boston Center for the Arts.