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Monday December 5th

PlayMakers' new season: A new director, new theme

PlayMakers Repertory Company is taking audiences on a journey of transformation with its 2016-17 season.

Announced last Tuesday, the new season features six main stage plays, three of which were written by important female playwrights. The plays include Dominique Morisseau's “Detroit '67,” Molly Smith Metzler’s “The May Queen” and Lynn Nottage’s “Intimate Apparel."

THE 2016-17 SEASON

Find the full list of performances here.

  • Aug. 24 through 28: Announcing soon
  • Sept. 14 through Oct. 2: Detroit '67
  • Oct. 19 through Nov. 6: The Crucible
  • Nov. 23 through Dec. 11: The May Queen
  • Jan. 11 through 15, 2017: De Profundis
  • Jan. 25 through Feb. 12, 2017: Intimate Apparel
  • March 1 through 19, 2017: Twelfth Night
  • April 5 through 29, 2017: My Fair Lady
  • April 26 through 30, 2017: Mr. Joy

Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch said she wanted to showcase women in the theater. 

“Nothing is more important to me right now than including a great diversity of voices, and I wanted to make sure we had strong women’s voices this season," she said.

Arielle Yoder, actress and MFA candidate in the professional actor training program, said the appointment of a new producing artistic director has allowed the company to step forward and explore new perspectives.  

“Vivienne has a passion for developing new works, and we will start to see a lot more works directly created at the PlayMakers in the near future,” she said.

And Benesch has plans for the future.

She said she wants to use her position as a way to revitalize PlayMakers' presence and relevance.

“I like to think of this season, not as a radical shift away from what the PlayMakers have always done well, but as an occasion to reengage and reenergize the work we’re doing so that it is as relevant, brave and excellent as we can possibly make it," she said.

Beside the selection of contemporary plays, this season will also feature classics, like William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night," and one of the first plays the company ever staged, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible." 

With the upcoming elections, her first season as producing artistic director and the 40th anniversary of the theater, Benesch said she wanted to look at the idea of transformation — a process taking place both on and off stage. 

Jenny Wales, the artistic associate who assisted Benesch, said this year’s selection is also about how individuals relate to their community and how both are changed as a result of their interactions. 

Both Benesch and Wales said this season is an opportunity for the company to engage with the UNC and Chapel Hill community at large.

“The community already comes into our theater, but the theater needs to go out into the community," Benesch said. “That is our next step, to ensure that the excellent art not only stands on its own, but that it invites and necessitates engagement.”

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