2019 ARKANSAS NEW PLAY FESTIVAL

March 29—April 7 in Fayetteville and Bentonville

Workshop production by LatinX Theatre Project launches Springdale-based company’s residency with T2, supported by two-year grant from Walton Family Foundation

Playwrights to be featured at the festival include (L to R) Bryna Turner, Adrienne Dawes, Na’Tosha De’Von, and Rachel Lynett.

Playwrights to be featured at the festival include (L to R) Bryna Turner, Adrienne Dawes, Na’Tosha De’Von, and Rachel Lynett.

TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller announced today the lineup of new plays for the eleventh annual Arkansas New Play Festival. Five plays will be intensively developed by five teams including the playwright, director, dramaturg, and professional cast for each project.  Four will receive staged reading performances in Bentonville and in Fayetteville, including Ain’t I A Woman by Na’Tosha De’Von, Carlo at the Wedding by Bryna Turner, He Did It by Rachel Lynett, and Teen Dad by Adrienne Dawes. The fifth project is Blanket Statements, a brand-new devised work by Northwest Arkansas’s own LatinX Theatre Project, and will culminate in a fully staged workshop performance. With this collaboration, the Project and T2 are launching a new affiliation which extends artistic, production, and institutional support to the young company, supported by a major grant from the Walton Family Foundation.  

“This year’s festival features bold perspectives on the issues of our day and elevates exciting new voices to the conversation,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “We’re proud to feature playwrights from the national community alongside talented professionals who call Northwest Arkansas home—and thrilled to launch the LatinX Theatre Project’s residency at TheatreSquared with this exciting new community-driven work.”


A sixth developmental workshop—R&J: Damascus, adapted and directed by Kholoud Sawaf with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art—will be held concurrently with the Festival but will not yet include public performances. Capstone performances for this three-year developmental project are anticipated for August of 2019.


About the workshop production:

The LatinX Theatre Project’s newest work, Blanket Statements, will be performed twice—in staged reading format at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Saturday, March 30th, at 2:00 pm; and as a fully staged performance at TheatreSquared on Saturday, April 6th at 8:00 pm, with an encore performance on Sunday, April 7th at 1:00 pm at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10.  The project is a significant revision and expansion of an earlier, shorter script initially developed in 2018.


The collaboration marks the formal launch of the LatinX Theatre Project ’s partnership with TheatreSquared, supported by a major two-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation.  


“This ensemble is creating some of the most vibrant, community-driven, up-to-the-minute theatrical work in Northwest Arkansas, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to work closely with them through this new affiliation,” said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller. “We’re excited to extend the full support of T2’s staff and production team to facilitate their expansion, strategic planning, and continued artistic work.”


This workshop production welcomes new collaborator, Rebecca Rivas, who is moving to Northwest Arkansas to begin full-time work as program director for the LatinX Theatre Project and as artistic associate for TheatreSquared. She has served as the co-founder and artistic director of the Chican@/Latin@ Theatre Series in El Paso; as director and mentor with the University of Texas at El Paso Theatre for Young Audiences Touring Company; and as a diversity initiative coordinator for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Committee.  Her extensive directing and acting resume includes six plays and readings at TheatreSquared, and she holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas Department of Theatre. She joins LXTP Artistic Director and founding Playwright-In-Residence for LXTP, Ashley Edwards, and founding Executive Producer, David Jolliffe in co-leading the ensemble focusing on performance and program development.


The LatinX Theatre Project is an innovative theater collective that is committed to continuing an inclusive conversation about community identity and cohesion as well as to promote a call for action within our community. Through their signature blend of theatre, spoken word, comedy, and song, the Project promotes literacy, performing art, and other projects that focus on giving a voice to the Latin American community in Northwest Arkansas. The Project is currently in residence at TheatreSquared, with underwriting support from the Walton Family Foundation.


Blanket Statements is a devised work created by members of the company under the mentorship of Ashley Edwards. Rebecca Rivas will join the group at the ANPF to serve as the director of the devised piece for the festival. Members of the ensemble currently include: Betty Brutus, Damian Dena, Yesenia De Loera, Martin Garay, Lazaro Garay, Jakob Alexander "Alex" Nilsson, Maverick S., Gabriela "Gabby" Torres, Fernando Valdez. Savannah Vaughan, M. Sativa Vela (company writing coordinator). Felecia Deatherage serves as the resident company stage manager.



About the staged readings:
Na’Tosha De’Von, a Northwest Arkansas-based theatre artist, debuts at the Arkansas New Play Festival with her play, Ain’t I a Woman. This devised one-woman show is a funny, heartfelt story of the woes and wonders encountered by girls on the journey to womanhood, as seen through the eyes of the playwright and performer. On the way, she challenges our assumptions about what is normal for women on the emotional roller coaster from childhood to adulthood. Directed by Vicki Washington. Performances will be held on Saturday, March 30th, 11:00 am in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Saturday, April 6th, 2:00 pm at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10.


Inspired by Dorothy Baker’s tragicomic novella Cassandra at the Wedding, Bryna Turner’s new script, Carlo at the Wedding, is a comic and heartfelt play about a woman attending an ex’s wedding. Carlo struggles to not get drunk, not give any long-winded speeches—and will definitely not try to steal the bride back. Bryna Turner is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Northern California, who will be visiting Northwest Arkansas for the first time.  Her play Bull in a China Shop recently premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre’s LCT3, where it was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and was just further developed at the National Theatre in London by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia, The Iron Lady).  TheatreSquared Associate Artistic Director Amy Herzberg will direct the workshop, in collaboration with the playwright and with dramaturg Rachel Karpf, artistic producer of WP Theater (formerly known as Women's Project). Performances of Carlo at the Wedding will be held on Saturday, March 30, at 4:30 pm in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Friday, April 5th, at 7:30 pm at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10.


Rachel Lynett is an Arkansas-based playwright and theatre artist, whose work has been featured at the Kennedy Center and Barrington Stage Company, where she recently received a commission. In her newest play, He Did It, Lex, Ada, and Jefferson are about to get the green light from a major production company. They're about to get everything they ever wanted. Except that Jefferson has been recently accused of violent crimes. Ada and Lex both know he did it. Now, they both must decide what's more important: their career success or ending a vicious cycle? What can you excuse if it's done by an artistic "genius"? Directed by Morgan Hicks, performances of this sharply drawn and topical new play will first be held on Friday, March 29th at 6:30 pm in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and again on Saturday, April 6th, 5:00 pm, at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10.


Teen Dad is a riotous new comedy from Adrienne Dawes, an Afro-Latina playwright originally from Austin, Texas, who studied comedy with The Second City in Chicago. Teen Dad subverts the popular regional theatre "kitchen-sink beach house play," when Abby, a precocious emo-goth teenager, orchestrates a surprise reunion for her mother, Tanya, and birth father, Tom, with the help of her mom's fiance/healer, John. Teen Dad will be directed by New York-based artist Melissa Crespo. Only one performance of this brand-new comedy will be held during the festival, on Sunday, April 7th, 3:30 pm at TheatreSquared. Seating preference will be given to pass holders. Single tickets for this showing are $10.

TheatreSquared is also proud to present the ninth annual the Arkansas Young Playwrights’ Showcase. Students from across the state have submitted one-act scripts, and the top submissions will be selected for mentorship from a professional playwright and a public reading at the Arkansas New Play Festival. A free performance will be held at TheatreSquared Saturday, April 6 at 11:00 am.


All-Access Pass & Ticket Info

Passes for the 2019 Arkansas New Play Festival are on sale now for $50 and include admission to four staged readings and the workshop production over two weekends in Bentonville and Fayetteville. To reserve passes, patrons should call (479) 443-5600 or visit playarkansas.com. A limited number of 30 Under 30 passes for patrons under the age of 30 are available as well. Single tickets are available for $10.


Performances will be held in Bentonville at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712) and in Fayetteville at the studio theatre in Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios (505 W. Spring St.) March 29-April 9, 2019.


About TheatreSquared


TheatreSquared’s upcoming Grand Opening 2019/2020 season will go on sale March 10. Seven-play packages will be available for purchase at (479) 777-7477 or theatre2.org.

TheatreSquared is Northwest Arkansas’ professional regional theatre, offering an intimate live theatre experience for 45,000 patrons each year in its intimate space and in schools throughout the state. TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®, as one of the nation’s ten most promising emerging theatres. TheatreSquared has experienced remarkable growth in recent seasons, expanding its audience tenfold in the past five years. In 2019, the company will open a brand new, 50,000-square-foot theatre center, featuring two state-of-the-art performance spaces. For further information or press tickets, contact TheatreSquared at (479) 445-6333 or visit theatre2.org.

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Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 13 is provided by The Walton Family Foundation, Inc.; the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts; the Walker Charitable Foundation; the Walmart Foundation; and by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 13 is provided by Experience Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Flyer, Cox Communications, KNWA, CitiScapes, KUAF, and MailCo USA.


Joanna BellComment