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"Frat" by Evan Linder, a Hatmaker Theatricals Productions production in association with The New Colony production in 2011.

The New Colony Announces Season of World Premieres

Among the new plays is ‘Byhalia, Mississippi,’ which will debut in several cities at once in hopes of sparking an online conversation among audiences.

CHICAGO: The New Colony has announced its 2016 season, including three world premieres and a fourth production yet to be announced.

The season begins with the world premiere of Byhalia, Mississippi (Jan. 8–Feb. 14, 2016), by co-artistic director Evan Linder and coproduced with Definition Theatre Company, about a proud white trash couple whose newborn black baby uncovers a secret affair and ignites racial turmoil in the town. Tyrone Phillips will direct. In a new initiative, Byhalia, Mississippi will receive three simultaneous world premieres at the New Colony, Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tenn., and Village Rep Co. in Charleston, S.C., and staged readings the following week at Theatre Downtown in Birmingham, Ala., Sixth Avenue in Los Angeles, Cue6 Productions in Toronto, Ont., and square product theatre in Boulder, Colo. Following that, a “national conversation” between the seven cities will take place online Jan. 18, 2016.

“This year, we challenged ourselves to take our mission even further than any previous season,” said co-artistic director Andrew Hobgood in a statement. “We see the national conversation around Byhalia, Mississippi as a big step forward in our mission to cultivate a new generation of arts supporters. When you see a movie or television show, you are seeing it with everyone else who has seen it. Even if you didn’t see it together, you can still talk about it as if you did. We want to use technology to make it possible for friends to go see theatre together, even if they are not in the same location, giving theatre the type of ‘water cooler moment’ that film and TV audiences have benefited from for decades.”

Next will be the world premiere of Chelsea Marcantel’s Even Longer and Farther Away (April 8–May 15, 2016), about two sisters, one town in Appalachia, and a secret as vast as the whole wide world. Thrisa Hodits will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of William Glick’s Kin Folk (July 8–Aug. 14, 2016), about a recently orphaned girl who reveals her true identity as a dragon and journeys to a fantastical community of elves, gnomes, and werewolves. Linder will direct.

A fourth production is yet to be announced.

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