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Arts and Humanities

PlayMakers Repertory Company announces reimagined 2020-2021 season

The theater company’s 45th season embraces change and delivers a range of work digitally.

Playmakers: All too Human

PlayMakers Repertory Company believes in the transformative power of theatre and its ability to bring communities together to share common ground. Even if that isn’t in the same space…

PlayMakers’ 45th season, All Too Human, which explores the resilience of the human spirit in the face of personal and national upheaval, was born out of the need to adapt, learn, and change. Following health and safety guidelines set by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PlayMakers will take to the virtual stage with its signature mix of timely new works alongside classic tales reimagined.

The season also positions PlayMakers to invest time reimagining not just how theatre is performed and seen, but how and by whom it is made. Starting with our own internal assessment and antiracism training on “stage” and off, we are taking an honest, hard look at our internal practices, and how we create a more equitable inclusive space for artists, staff and audiences.

The 2020-2021 season will feature six streamed performances ranging from radio dramas to film, ensemble to solo work, all enjoyed in the safety of home until we can gather again as a community. The season will kick off in fall 2020 and run through May 2021.

“I have been grappling with how to responsibly plan for and share our programming, with all that has happened — and is still happening — in North Carolina and around the country,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ producing artistic director. “What has become clear to me is that it is imperative that we lean into the process of transformation and redouble our commitment to producing inclusive, courageous and meaningful theatrical work for our community—whatever the medium. The titles we will present amplify some extraordinary local voices and give us the opportunity to take risks in reimagining one of my all-time favorite Shakespeare comedies. At a time when we are feeling ‘all too human,’ PlayMakers remains committed to bringing audiences the best of what we have to offer, fully rooted in our belief that the arts can bring joy, hope and progress to our corner of the world.”

The 20/21 All Too Human season will include: the world premiere of Jacqueline E. Lawton’s “Edges of Time,” an encore performance of Durham native Kane Smego’s one-man hip-hop odyssey “Temples of Lung and Air,” Ray Dooley’s celebrated one-man performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a live reading of “The Storyteller” by Sara Jean Acuardi (winner of the first Thomas Wolfe International Playwriting Competition), a blues-infused reinvention of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and a one-man performance of Mike Wiley’s acclaimed “Blood Done Sign My Name.”

PlayMakers will also continue to develop streaming content through the PlayMakers (Keeping You) Company digital platform.In the fall, this content will highlight the Company’s focus on showcasing the best of tomorrow’s talent, on “stage” today, with “Some Kind of Universe”. Directed by Benesch, this set of new, devised short pieces will be created and performed by actors from Carolina’s MFA Professional Actor Training Program.

Passes to the 20/21 season will go on sale Sept. 1. In these uncertain times, we offer the risk-free PlayMakers Promise: we will not return to live theatrical performances until it is safe for both artists and audiences. If we can return to the theatre this season and patrons are unable to attend a live performance for any reason, they can view virtually, or apply the value of their tickets to any production in the next 12 months.

For information about PlayMakers’ 2020-2021 season, visit http://www.playmakersrep.org/human or call (919) 962-7529.