From Moscow to Belfast to Shanghai, activist artists have been using theater as protest and political commentary - often at the risk of imprisonment - by harnessing the power of an art form that requires a live audience in attendance for it to work. In Chicago, recently dubbed "America's Theater Capital," we have more grassroots theater than any major city in the country but remarkably little in terms of political theater (in a town that lives and dies by its politics).
Join us for a showcase of new work by three playwrights of color, commissioned specifically for this event on the subjects of race and class in America: “On Principle” by Terrance T. Brown, directed by Sydney Chatman (Tofu Chitlin' Circut); “Helpline” by Anita Chandwaney, directed by Rinska Prestinary (Silk Road Theatre); and “Purchasing Power” by Benjamin V. Marshall, directed by Adam Webster (side project theater). Submissions were received from 49 playwrights residing in Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles; winning plays were selected by WBEZ for inclusion in this event. Hosted by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore, these plays will be presented alongside a panel disussion with industry leaders to explore theater’s role in weaving politics and art together.
Timothy Douglas assumed the role of Artistic Director at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company in July of 2011, with 30 years of experience as a theater leader, stage director, actor and educator. He has directed nationally and internationally, and counts among his credits the world premiere of August Wilson’s RADIO GOLF for Yale Rep, his critically acclaimed Caribbean-inspired MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING for the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, and the premiere of a new translation/adaptation of Ibsen’s ROSMBERSHOLM off-Broadway.
Chay Yew is a playwright and director who was born and raised in Singapore, now serving as Victory Gardens Theater artistic director. He has directed world premieres by playwrights Jose Rivera, Naomi Iizuka, Kia Corthron, Julia Cho, David Adjmi and Jessica Goldberg, and performance artists Rha Goddess, Universes, Alec Mapa, Sandra Tsing Loh and Brian Freeman. He has also directed and developed new plays at the Sundance Institute, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Ojai Playwrights Festival, Public Theatre’s New Work Now, New Dramatists, Denver Theatre Center’s New Play Summit, Yale Rep’s Musical Theatre Institute, and Goodman’s Latino Festival, among others.
Coya Paz is a poet, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before moving permanently to the United States in 1987. Coya is a proud co-founder of Proyecto Latina and the director in residence for the Poetry Performance Incubator at the Guild Complex. She cofounded Teatro Luna in 2000, and served as co-Artistic Director until 2009. Recent projects include: Nation of Cowards, a multi-sited performance piece about interracial dialogue; Tour Guides; and Machos, which won the 2008 Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Outstanding Ensemble. She is at work on a new play called The Americans, based on interviews with people in 10 states across the USA.