“We believe that theatre offers an essential place for dialogue in times of extreme disruption,” said incoming artistic director Matt Torney in a statement, “and a space in which our community can celebrate, console, and, most importantly, connect with one another. TO is committed to building programs that not only respond actively to the present crisis, but also serve as a long-term investment in our community, Atlanta artists, and our future as a downtown theatre.”
At the end of this month, Theatrical Outfit will launch Downtown Dialogues, a four-part series of digital readings. The readings will include Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, directed by Susan Booth; Candrice Jones’ FLEX, directed by Tinashe Kajese-Bolden; Jonathan Spector’s Eureka Day, directed by January LaVoy; and Zora Howard’s Stew, directed by Ibi Owolabi. Each play will be followed by a live video podcast hosted by journalist Gail O’Neill, who will speak with experts and guests about the play and its themes.
During the holidays, Theatrical Outfit will host the Welcome Table, a one-night event to benefit organizations that serve the downtown Atlanta homeless community.
The company will also launch Made in Atlanta, a place-based new-play program that aims to give space for artists to tell stories of Atlanta and the South. The program will commission new plays, develop the plays through workshops and readings, and then produce world premiere productions. The first weeklong workshop will be Dana Stringer’s We the Village, which was presented as part of the 2020 Unexpected Play Festival. The theatre expects to announce additional script development workshops and a first round of commissions later this year.
In January 2021, Theatrical Outfit will work with Working Title Playwrights again to present the month-long Unexpected Play Festival.
The onstage season will begin with Tiny Beautiful Things (spring 2021), based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for stage by Nia Vardalos, about Sugar, an anonymous online advice columnist who provides guidance to a wide variety of people. Amber McGinnis will direct.
The onstage season will also include a co-production with Washington, D.C., company Theatre J, Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities, by Anna Deavere Smith, a documentary theatre piece taken directly from a series of interviews with members of the Jewish and Black communities following the 1991 Crown Heights riot. Adam Immerwahr and January LaVoy will co-direct.
A third production will be announced at a later date.
Theatrical Outfit, founded initially as an ensemble theatre in 1976, aims to produce theatre that starts the conversations that matter.
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