The PlayMakers Repertory Company recently announced its upcoming productions for the 2023-2024 season in a Youtube video, including well-known shows like “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Located near Cobb Residence Hall, PlayMakers has provided the campus community with provoking representative and creative performances since 1976. Made up of a resident faculty of experienced actors and Masters of Fine Arts in Acting students, the theater has drastically expanded its impact on the community over the years.
As one of the last resident companies in the country, PlayMakers strives to use these productions not only as entertainment for the community but also education. Vivienne Benesch, the company's producing artistic director, believes the amplification of underrepresented voices throughout the season is important.
“Part of my job is to curate a season that is going to have a little bit of something for a lot of different constituents,” she said. “And what our audiences are going to find entertaining, conversation provoking and relevant.”
The outcome of each season lies in the hands of important figures in the company like Benesch and Associate Artistic Director Jeffrey Meanza, who selects the plays, as well as budgets and casts them. Once the season is selected, he works to support the directors and designers of each title.
“We picked plays with the company in mind,” he said. “We are looking for a diversity of stories in terms of the type of story including comedy, drama, tragedy and also looking at the diversity of playwrights, actors and music.”
As the world continues to change from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, PlayMakers has struggled while planning of the 2023-2024 season.
The pandemic caused financial stress on the company because it was unable to produce shows for its once eager audience. However, PlayMakers enjoyed success returning to the stage this past season with shows like “Native Gardens” and “Hamlet”.
Professional actor and Master of Fine Arts in Acting student at UNC, Sanjana Taskar is a partner with PlayMakers. From this experience, she said she has learned a lot about herself and the projects she is passionate about.