PlayMakers Repertory Company

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PlayMakers Repertory Company
Formation 1976
Type Theatre group
Location
  • Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Artistic director(s)

Joseph Haj (2006-2015)

Vivienne Benesch (2015-Present)
Website http://www.playmakersrep.org/

PlayMakers Repertory Company is the professional theater company in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1] PlayMakers Repertory Company is the successor of the Carolina Playmakers and is named after the Historic Playmakers Theatre. PlayMakers was founded in 1976 and is affiliated with the Dramatic and performing arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The company consists of residents, guest artists, professional staff and graduate students in the Department for Dramatic Arts at UNC and produces seasons of six main stage productions of contemporary and classical works that run from September to April. PlayMakers Repertory Company has a second stage series, PRC², that examines controversial social and political issues. The company has been acknowledged by the Drama League of New York and American Theatre magazine for being one of the top fifty regional theaters in the country.[2] PlayMakers operates under agreements with the Actors' Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.[3]

History of the Carolina Playmakers[edit]

In 1918, Professor Frederick Koch came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to teach the University's first courses in playwriting. In that same year, he founded the Carolina Playmakers theater company for the production of these original plays.[4] Koch and the Playmakers mainly produced what they considered to be “folk plays.” Koch defined a folk play as being based on “the legends, superstitions, customs, environmental differences, and the vernacular of the common people.” He saw them as primarily “realistic and human,” and chiefly concerned with “man’s conflict with the forces of nature and his simple pleasure in being alive.” [5]

Working with folk plays encouraged Koch's students to write about the small communities and rural populations they were likely to be familiar with, and, as in the experience of Paul Green, to address the experiences of "marginalized populations of the South," such as African-Americans and American Indians.[6]

The Carolina Playmakers began touring locally in 1920, then statewide the following year. In 1922, the first series of Carolina Folk Plays was published, which included five plays written and produced by the Playmakers. In 1925, Smith Hall, a building on campus previously used as a library and ballroom, was remodeled and dedicated as Playmakers Theatre for Playmakers performances.[5]

A number of successful writers and actors honed their craft in the Carolina Playmakers. Novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote and acted in several plays as a UNC student - including taking the title role in "The Return of Buck Gavin" (also written by Wolfe) in the Playmakers' first bill of plays on March 14 and 15, 1919.[7] Betty Smith, who would later write A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from her home in Chapel Hill, first came to town in 1936 as part of the WPA Federal Theater Project, and wrote many plays for the company.[5] In the late 1940s, Andy Griffith had featured roles in several Playmakers performances, including Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" and "HMS Pinafore." [8]

Other notable writers associated with the Carolina Playmakers include Paul Green, Josefina Niggli, Kermit Hunter, John Patric,[9] and Jonathan W. Daniels.

Venues[edit]

Historic Playmakers Theatre[edit]

The Historic Playmakers Theatre is a Greek Revival temple built in 1851 that was originally designed by New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis as a combined library and ballroom. Its original name, Smith Hall, was in honor of a former North Carolina Governor, named Benjamin Smith, who donated his land to the university for the building. After the building was also used as a laboratory, bath house, and law school, it became a theater in 1925. The theater is the perpetual home of the Carolina Playmakers, although their successor, Playmakers Repertory Company, uses the Paul Green Theatre as its primary venue. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. The Historic Playmakers Theatre is also one of the oldest buildings dedicated to the arts of the university. The theatre is located next to South Building on East Cameron Avenue on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[10]

Paul Green Theatre[edit]

The Paul Green Theatre was completed in 1976 as a 500-seat facility. Located in the Center for Dramatic Arts on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this building is the primary venue of PlayMakers Repertory Company. The theatre company's annual six Mainstage productions are presented in this facility. The Paul Green Theatre is also home to professional actors, directors, and artists from across the nation.[11]

Kenan Theatre[edit]

The Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre was built in 1999 as an extension to the Paul Green Theatre. The Kenan Theatre seats between 120 and 265 depending on stage configuration and is considered a Black box theatre. It features the productions of PlayMakers Repertory Company's second stage series, PRC². PRC² presents plays that examine controversial social and political issues.[2] and is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The venue also hosts productions by undergraduates in the Dramatic and Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Two student-run organizations, Lab! Theatre and The Kenan Theatre Company, produce student-directed work in this venue.[12]

2016-2017 Season[edit]

Mainstage Season[edit]

  • Draw the Circle by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen August 24 - August 28, 2016
  • Detroit '67 by Dominique Morisseau September 14 - October 2, 2016
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller October 19 - November 6, 2016
  • The May Queen by Molly Smith Metzler November 22 - December 11, 2016
  • Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage January 25 - February 12, 2017
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare March 1 - March 19, 2017
  • My Fair Lady book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Lowe April 5 - April 29, 2017

PRC2 Season[edit]

  • De Profundis by Oscar Wilde, adapted for the stage by Brian Mertes January 11 - January 15, 2017
  • Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty April 26 - April 30, 2017

Artists[edit]

Actors[edit]

Justin Adams, David Adamson, LeDawna Akins, Allison Altman, Daniel Bailin, Josh Barrett, Dee Dee Batteast, Sarah Berk, Weston Blakesly, Brett Bolton, Lisa Brescia, Janie Brookshire, Myles Bullock, Nathaniel P. Claridad, Julia Coffey, Jason Edward Cook, Jeffrey Blair Cornell, Carey Cox, Benjamin Curns, Gregory DeCandia, Kelsey Didion, Jorge Donoso, Ray Dooley, John Dreher, Lenore Field, Julie Fishell, Matt Garner, Julia Gibson, Matthew Greer, Lucas Griffin, William Hughes, Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Rasool Jahan, Nilan Johnson, Schuyler Scott Mastain, Thomasi McDonald, Randa McNamara, Jeffrey Meanza, Marianne Miller, Matthew Ellis Murphy, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Paul O'Brien, Katie Paxton, Kashif Powell, Jason Powers, Charlie Robinson, Jessica Sorgi, Caroline Strange, Allen Tedder, Ray Anthony Thomas, Jeremy Webb, Michael Winters, Arielle Yoder

Directors[edit]

Libby Appel, Vivienne Benesch, Desdemona Chiang, Mike Donahue, Michael Dove, Brendon Fox, Wendy C. Goldberg, Joseph Haj, Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Shishir Kurup, Davis McCallum, Rob Melrose, Jen Wineman

Creative Team[edit]

Bill Black, Jan Chambers, Helen Q. Huang, Tyler Micoleau, Cliff Caruthers, Peter West, Mike Yionoulis, Charles K. Bayang, Jade Bettin, Scott Bolman, Burke Brown, McKay Coble, Pat Collins, Jeffrey Blair Cornell, Alexander Dodge, Mike Donahue, Cecilia R. Durbin, Josh Epstein, Nelson T. Eusebio, III, Anthony Fichera, Roz Fulton, Ryan J. Gastelum, Katja Hill, Trevor Johnson, Gregory Kable, Anne Kennedy, Eric Ketchum, Lauren La May, Junghyun Georgia Lee, Richard Luby, Ashley Lucas, David McClutchey, Karen O'Brien, Kristin Parker, John Patrick, Kathy A. Perkins, Mark Perry, Robert Peterson, Rachel Pollock, Bonnie Raphael, Jamila Reddy, Ros Schwartz, Aya Shabu, Narelle Sissons, Sarah Smiley, Rozlyn Sorrell, Heather Stanford, Francesca Talenti, Justin Townsend, Craig Turner, Adam Versenyi, Marion Williams, Jiayun Zhuang

See also[edit]

Dramatic and performing arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About PlayMakers". Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "PlayMakers Repertory Company". Shakespeare in American Communities. National Endowments for the Arts. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "PlayMakers Repertory Company". Production: General Information. Department of Dramatic Art at UNC Chapel Hill. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Forty Years: The Carolina Playmakers 1918-1958. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina. 1958. 
  5. ^ a b c Spearman, Walter. The Carolina Playmakers: The First Fifty Years, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970.
  6. ^ "Carolina's Literary History". The Carolina Story: a Virtual Museum of University History. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Holman, C. Hugh. "Thomas Wolfe". The North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Student Organizations - Carolina Playmakers". The Carolina Story: a Virtual Museum of University History. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Patric, John (1930). For Auntie's Sake. 
  10. ^ "Historic Playmakers Theatre". Carolina Performing Arts. Carolina Performing Arts. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Paul Green Theatre". PlayMakers Repertory Company. PlayMakers Repertory Company. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Kenan Theatre". PlayMakers Repertory Company. PlayMakers Repertory Company. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 

External links[edit]