PRINCETON, N.J.: McCarter Theatre Center has announced that Bard at the Gate, Paula Vogel‘s online play series, created last year during lockdown, will return for two more seasons starting this fall in partnership with the McCarter. A total of eight plays will be digitally produced and streamed during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, with plays from Zakiyyah Alexander, José Rivera, and Christina Anderson featured this upcoming season. The collaboration will kick off with a repeat airing of Eisa Davis’s play Bulrusher on June 3, followed by a Q&A with Davis, Vogel, and Valerie Curtis-Newton, artistic director for the Hansberry Project.
“For so long, theatre has peered through an ‘only if it’s a premiere’ or ‘only if it’s proven’ lens,” said artistic director Sarah Rasmussen in a statement. “With Bard, we are discovering stunning plays and giving them new life, as well as breaking down barriers of who has access. This past year we have learned so much about making and sharing virtual theatre. Our Adrienne Kennedy Festival brought so many to her work for the first time. Accessibility is a priority at McCarter that Bard at the Gate directly addresses.”
The four plays presented as reading by Bard at the Gate in 2020 reached more than 11,000 audience members. Vogel founded the program to fill the void left by theatres shutting down, taking the opportunity to lift overlooked and underappreciated plays, especially works by artists of color, women, LGBTQIA+, and disabled writers. The organization’s mission is to contribute to a new standard of works produced by American theatres. This new partnership will be co-curated by Vogel and McCarter associate artistic director Nicole A. Watson.
The play selection process for Bard will also include an advisory council of playwrights, directors, producers, and academics including Isabella Starr LaBlanc, Jill Dolan, Joy Meads, KJ Sanchez, May Adrales, Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Quiara Hudes, Regina Victor, Valerie Curtis-Newton, Brian Herrera, Chay Yew, and Gregg Mozgala.
“Bard began as a very personal effort to give marginalized playwrights a voice,” said Vogel in a statement, “especially during the historic times we are living through. Partnering with McCarter will give Bard a national impact with brilliant plays that belong in the curriculum and in the seasons of theatres worldwide. I am grateful to everyone who likewise sees this vital opportunity to redefine what we consider to be the best American plays.”
More information, including how to get tickets to the re-release of Bulrusher, is available here.
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