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Emilie Hanson and Cheyenne Barton in "The Wolves" at A Contemporary Theatre in 2018. (Photo by Chris Bennion)

ACT’s 2020 Season Achieves Gender Parity

The company’s 55th season will include works by Lynn Nottage, Lucy Prebble, Wendy McLeod, and Jen Silverman.

SEATTLE: A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) has announced its five-play 2020 season, featuring four contemporary works by women. The season was selected in celebration of the nationwide 50/50 in 2020 initiative that is working to promote parity in representation in the entertainment industry.

“My first season for ACT was 2016, and we learned a lot about trying to anticipate an audience’s state of mind in an election year,” said artistic director John Langs in a statement. “2020 will no doubt be a year of great importance. In choosing next year’s plays, we’ve been deliberate in making ACT a place where audiences can find the inspiration and will to make things better in whatever way we can. The plays explore stories of resilience, of being proud of who you are, of understanding different views, connecting through the joy that comes from connection and being seen, and the great importance of laughter.”

The season will open with Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (March 20-April 12, 2020), about a group of factory workers in Reading, Pa., whose friendship is challenged when the struggling factory has layoffs. Langs will direct.

Next up will be Lucy Prebble’s The Effect (April 17-May 19, 2020), about two volunteers in a clinical trial for an anti-depressant whose affection for one another might just be a side effect of the drug. Tracy Young will direct.

Following will be Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy (June 5-28, 2020), a co-production with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The play with music follows the students of a Black male prep school as they navigate issues of sexuality and identity. Jamil Jude will direct.

The season will continue with the world premiere of The Laugh Track (Sept. 11-Oct. 4, 2020), by Wendy McLeod. The play, commissioned by ACT, is about Madelyn Pugh Davis, Hollywood’s first showrunner, who developed and wrote six seasons of “I Love Lucy.” Langs will direct.

Next up will be Jen Silverman’s Witch (Oct. 23-Nov. 15, 2020), a  riff on the 17th-century fable “The Witch of Edmonton” about a devil struggling to win the soul of a steadfast woman. The modern Jacobean drama will be directed by Alison Narver.

Founded in 1965, ACT is dedicated to developing a producing work with contemporary playwrights and local performing artists.

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