2019/2020 will mark the 100th season of PlayMakers on UNC’s campus. While the name and history are shared, PlayMakers Repertory Company, which is active today, was actually established in 1976 as a professional company. PlayMakers is celebrating all 100 years with purpose.
“To interweave that concept of the legacy of American theater and the legacy of Carolina and PlayMakers in that history,” Justin Haslett, the managing director of PlayMakers, said. “But also the role that we play now as the contemporary regional theater within the industry and within the cultural landscape of theater, the role we play in moving the art form forward.”
The season opener will be Nambi Kelley’s adaptation of “Native Son.” Written as a novel by Richard Wright, it was first made into a play by UNC graduate Paul Green in collaboration with Wright in the 1920s. Green would later win a Pulitzer, travel around the world as a human rights activist and return to teach at UNC for several years. Green's legacy aside, this season's focus is on the plays.
“For me, it connects to a wider conversation we're having across the country about taking a good long hard look at our inheritances,” Alejandro Rodriguez, a PlayMakers producing associate, said.
For the company, moving forward may take myriad shapes. For PlayMakers, everything from set and tech to critical post-performance dialogue are on the table. Their most recent season wrapped up with one such instance.