Four Cities, Five Theatre Companies, All doing Full Productions of Byhalia, Mississippi opening January 8th:
LET’S MEET THEM!
City: Memphis, TN
Company: Playhouse on the Square
- Jackie Nichols, Executive Director
- Whitney Jo, Managing Director
- Michael Detroit, Associate Producer
- Dave Landis, Associate Director
Circuit Playhouse Inc., which includes Playhouse on the Square and The Circuit Playhouse, recently observed the 45th anniversary of its founding by executive director Jackie Nichols in 1969. More than 6,000 people (including many World Premiere Conversation participants in other cities!) have acted, staffed, ushered, handled tech jobs, and struggled to bring forth the 744 shows produced at our theatres since its inception. The talent and dedication of these artists secured the reputation of Playhouse on the Square as Memphis’ premiere professional theatre company.
In February 1995, Playhouse on the Square hosted twenty-five theatres and two hundred actors from around the country at the first Unified Professional Theatre Auditions conference. Each year, the number of participating theatres and actors has grown and now more than one hundred theatres and over one thousand actors and technicians attend the UPTAs annually. The NewWorks@theWorks Playwriting Competition was established three years ago to promote emerging playwrights and foster an environment where original work can be developed and produced.
As we move toward the half century mark, our vision of “enriching lives through theatre” remains constant. With the continued support of the community and the family of artists that make up Circuit Playhouse Inc., we will continue to bring a challenging and diverse repertoire of theatrical work that speaks to the intelligence, soul, and imagination of the Memphis community.
Did you know:
- Byhalia, Mississippi is the winner of Playhouse on the Square’s 2014 NewWorks@TheWorks Playwriting Competition along with Moonvine by Teri K. Feigelson.
- Circuit Playhouse’s production of Marat/Sade gave Memphis audiences their first onstage nude scene in 1969.
- This will be the second time a play by Evan Linder has been produced by Playhouse on the Square. 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche saw its first production in the Mid-South at Theatreworks in 2013. It starred Gail Black who is playing Celeste in POTS’ Byhalia and was directed by Liz Sharpe who is playing Laurel in TNC/Defintion’s Byhalia.
City: Chicago, IL
Company: The New Colony
Founded in 2008, The New Colony has already established itself as “one of Chicago’s essential off-Loop companies” (Chicago Tribune). Through the premiere of over twenty world premiere plays and musicals, The New Colony has cultivated a diverse audience of theatergoers eager to have a voice in the storytelling. Conversation, collaboration, and innovation remain at the heart of everything they produce. The New Colony’s work has been honored with a Jeff Award, Broadway in Chicago’s 2011 Emerging Theatre Award and Best Overall Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival.
In 2012, The New Colony premiered three new shows in Chicago while also opening a show off-Broadway (“[5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche]’s raw and magnetic dementia seems destined to attract a cult following.” –Ben Brantley, The New York Times) before beginning a national tour. In 2013, the company inaugurated its Associate Company Intensive for recent college graduates, and has now added The Writers Room to its successful education programing that has welcomed 35 participants in 2015 alone. Recently, The New Colony’s Co-Artistic Directors were named on Chicago Magazine’s list of Theatre Scene Stealers. After premiering reWILDing Genius at the Steppenwolf Garage Rep in 2014, The New Colony was happy to find its resident home at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park where its seventh season opened with Plastic Revolution, the best-selling TNC world premiere to date.
In January 2016, The New Colony launches its eighth season with four world premieres at The Den Theatre, beginning with the World Premiere Conversation of Byhalia, Mississippi.
Did you know:
- The New Colony saw three of its original plays published in 2014: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up and The Bear Suit of Happiness.
- The New Colony ensemble members Chris Gingrich, Thea Lux, Henry Riggs and Tara Sissom all received a Jeff Award for their original score of That Sordid Little Story. All four also gave acceptance speeches. Simultaneously. On one microphone.
- reWILDing Genius followed a group of Anonymous hackers in Chicago who try to topple Big Pharma. The show was originally pitched as “What if Snowden met Lulzsec?” During the play’s world premiere at the 2014 Steppenwolf Garage Rep, playwright Andrew Hobgood was attending the TED conference in Vancouver and ran into Edward Snowden. Or actually…a robot controlled by Snowden. There’s a photo.
City: Chicago, IL
Company: Definition Theatre Company
- Tyrone Phillips, Artistic Director
- Neel McNeill, Managing Director
Did you know:
- Managing Director Neel McNeill was recently listed as one of “6 Theatre Workers You Should Know” in American Theatre Magazine.
- Definition’s first world premiere, Genesis by Mercedes White, received 4 Black Theatre Alliance nominations including “Outstanding Production”
- The Chicago Tribune named Artistic Director Tyrone Phillips a “Rising Star in Chicago Theatre” in Fall of 2015.
City: Charleston, SC
Company: Village Repertory Company
- Keely Enright, Artistic Director
- Dave Reinwald, Managing Director
- Robbie Thomas, Associate Artistic Director
Founded in 2000 in Charleston, SC by Artistic Director Keely Enright and Managing Director Dave Reinwald, the Village Repertory Co. has built an impeccable reputation for consistent theatrical excellence and nuanced cannon of work that is like no other in the Charleston community. Since its founding, the Village Repertory Co. has produced more than 100 mainstage productions and currently welcomes more than 10,000 patrons into the Playhouse each year.
Now making its home in the 200-seat Woolfe Street Playhouse in beautiful downtown Charleston, the Village Repertory Co. believes that theatre is not about sitting and watching, but about soaking in the moment and sharing the experience. The Village Rep is proud to have been a leader in raising the bar on theatrical diversity, inventive programming and artistic excellence in the Charleston community for 15 years.
Did you know:
- Our home- the Woolfe Street Playhouse at 34 Woolfe is a beautiful example of adaptive reuse. The 101 year old warehouse was originally built as home to Consumer Ice Co in 1914 and spent more than fifty years as the Meddin Bros Meat Packing Warehouse. The Village Rep took up the daunting task of adapting and restoring the crumbling structure in 2012. This year, the Village Rep won the prestigious Carolopolis Award for Outstanding Historic Renovation.
- The Village Repertory Co.is the five time recipient of the Charleston City Paper Annual Best of Charleston Award and has won more than 20 Theatre Charleston Awards since 2013.
- The Village Teen Troupe was created to provide a alternative to many of the youth programs currently operating in Charleston. Our focus is on building a professional level ensemble that challenges and inspires its members and gives them the tools they need to pursue their artistic goals beyond high school.
City: Toronto, ON
Company: Cue6 Theatre
- Jill Harper, Co-Founder/ Producer & Artistic Director
- Christine Groom, Producer/ General Manager
- Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman, Co-Founder/Producer & Literary Manager
Cue6 is a Toronto indie theatre company led by Jill Harper, Christine Groom and Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman. Together they create intimate theatre that explores questions instead of offering answers. Cue6 develops new works and premieres exciting productions from local and international artists.
Past projects include; pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill, Best of the Toronto Fringe 2015, NNNN — Now Magazine; The New Colony’s Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up, which earned Rebecca Liddiard a Dora Nomination for Best Individual Performance, NNNN — Now Magazine (2014); Pieces featuring Rosemary Dunsmore, James Downing, and Allison Price (2012); and The Guilty Party (2008). Coming up next for Cue6; the world premiere of Byhalia, Mississippi written by Evan Linder as a part of a “World Premiere Conversation” coming January 2016, followed by the world premiere of We Three, a new play created collectively with the company and written by Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman as part of Tarragon Theatre’s new Workspace initiative
Did you know:
- This isn’t the first time that Cue6 has done a New Colony show. Their production of Joel Kim Booster’s Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up opened just 6 months after the world premiere in Chicago!
- The first project of Cue6 in 2008 wasn’t a theater production. It was a short film: This December written and directed by Jill Harper who is directing Byhalia this January.
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