A big Love Utah Give Utah thank you!

Our official Love Utah Give Utah total: $18,150 in online donations $  3,401 in offline donations $  1,500 for placing 3rd in our category $23,051 Thank you to all 230 donors who made this possible! We now have the full, first-year salary for a half-time Education Coordinator in hand. We’re pretty damn excited because today we expected to have half of the salary. So now we get to post the job notice next week – stay...

How To Love Utah Give Utah March 1-30

All Love Utah Give Utah gifts made between now and 11:59pm on March 30 count toward our total! Thank you to everyone whose gifts combined to match a $5,000 gift from Vickie Venne between March 1-28. We’re now working toward matching a $2,500 gift from Jane & Tami Marquardt through their Peace & Possibility Project). Please help us by giving as little as $10 by 11:59pm on Thursday, March 30! This means $15,000 (Vickie’s gift + Jane & Tami’s gift + matching funds from you!) will provide 3/4 of the first year’s salary for a new half-time Education Coordinator, who will manage our Free Elementary School Tour and assist the Artistic and Managing Directors to look to the future in a bolder way regarding diversity and gender parity. In its first year, our Free Elementary School Tour served 7,500 students at 20 elementary schools in 3 counties. Just three years later, it now serves 15,000 students at 40 schools in 7 counties. Our goal is to expand statewide by 2020. Working with Title I schools (including several primarily minority-majority schools) has helped us see what our future can be in terms of a more diverse talent pool, audience and donor base. We must think several generations ahead in order to accurately reflect, speak to and represent our evolving community.

Four of the first six plays commissioned for the Free Elementary School Tour are by female playwrights and the casts of each are intentionally diverse. Sharing more plays by women featuring gender-balanced and multi-ethnic casts allows more elementary students to see stories onstage that are performed by people who look and sound like them. If we authentically make the...

Rob Tennant on his play QUARTER HORSE

Rob Tennant is a member of The Lab at Plan-B, where his play BOOKSMART enjoyed a sold-out run last season. Rob’s play QUARTER HORSE is the next offering of our 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series this coming Wednesday, March 29, directed by Robert Scott Smith, stage managed by Joe Killian, with Emma Scotson as the Reader and featuring a cast of Olivia Custodio, Sky Kawaiw, Shawn Francis Saunders and Matthew Sincell. The reading is free and at capacity – click here for details. The hardest I’ve ever laughed was on day four of an ill-advised weeklong outdoor adventure. I was one of eight young men camping beside an ankle-deep “river” in the middle of the most remote piece of desert in the USA, days behind schedule with limited food and silt-clogged water filters. Bone-tired from a 12-hour day of slogging through mud with a small boat in which I was supposed to be riding, someone broke the settled quiet gloom with a simple statement. “We’re all going to die out here,” he said. We all laughed until we cried, our guffaws returning to us off of redrock canyon walls for minutes on end. There’s room for comedy in any situation – gallows humor is a powerful thing. A world in which we have run out of oil and are forced to ride bicycles everywhere isn’t necessarily a dystopia for me. To each their own. What terrifies me is the prospect of a future where we’ve done everything wrong and it’s all for naught because we haven’t learned from our mistakes. A world where individual interest continues to be prioritized above communal good. A world where...

Morag Shepherd on her play NOT ONE DROP

Playwright Morag Shepherd makes her Plan-B debut with NOT ONE DROP, receiving its world premiere March 23-April 2. Originally from Scotland, she is the resident playwright at Sackerson, where her plays THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE (co-written with Matthew Ivan Bennett and Shawn Francis Saunders), BEFORE THE BEEP, BURN and POPPY’S IN THE SAND have premiered, the latter playing Great Salt Lake and San Diego International Fringe Festivals. I moved around a fair amount as a child. I was born in Scotland, lived in a few different places in England, Scotland again, England again, the east coast of the States, and now here in Salt Lake City. I’m a citizen of the United Kingdom, but now feel more American. Moving around so much as a child, it was hard for me to keep an identity straight. I felt more like I was a mix and melded into the places and people I were around, to the point that I would adopt the accent of whoever I was talking to. Something I still do, because I’m cool like that. I was a member of the LDS faith, believed in god, went on a mission – the whole shebang – and now I’m not sure what I believe. And my point in saying all of that? If there is one thing that I kind of know, that I maybe believe in, it is that people change, places change, ideas and spaces alter, and it all weaves together like a spider web. Consequently, lines and boundaries that are liquid, elusive, and adoptive, are some of the foremost issues I play with in...

Jenny Kokai on her play THE ART OF FLOATING

Jennifer A. Kokai is a member of The Lab at Plan-B and teaches at Weber State University. Jenny’s play THE ART OF FLOATING is the next offering of our 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series this coming Wednesday, February 22. The reading is free and at capacity – click here to wait list. In THE ART OF FLOATING, Marian spends her days hanging out at the senior center and drinking wine with her best friend Fran. One day her estranged granddaughter MacKinzie calls up and asks to live with her. Her dog has died, and this has occasioned a crisis of faith about what happens to pets after death. Marian and Mackinzie don’t know each other, they don’t know much about each other, and they have very different points of view on the world. And then a dirigible crashes in Marian’s backyard. Generally, I am not one for autobiographical plays. But this play is basically an attempt for me to sort out some things I’ve been trying to understand since I moved to Utah five and a half years ago. Death and the LDS church. While I have obviously had experience with death before, since moving to Utah my family has had three grandmas, one college roommate, and four pets die. Off the top of my head. One grandma, in particular, left a huge gaping hole in me that even now, three years later, just hangs out. I know where the hole is and how to avoid it most of the time. But it’s still there. She was my most favorite person on earth, the person I called to talk to all the time, and I’m still...

Tim Slover on his play VIRTUE

Playwright Tim Slover makes his Plan-B debut with VIRTUE, about Hildegard of Bingen, which has journeyed through development at Penn State School of Theatre (which commissioned the play), Salt Lake Acting Company, the Bush Theatre in London, the Fulton Theatre in Pennsylvania and the graduate theatre program at the University of Georgia before premiering February 16-26 at Plan-B. Below are some of his thoughts about the play, which also appears in the February issue of QSaltLake. Over the last couple of decades, the LGBT community, led by visionary and courageous individuals, has realized many gains in legal, societal and artistic status. As a theist, I am particularly interested in the intersection of the LGBT community and spiritual and religious experience. Particularly, is there room in religions—mainstream and otherwise—for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people? Is there a place in the LGBT community for believers, even Christian believers? Or given the lamentable and well-rutted history of scriptural (mis)interpretation of sexuality by many Christian communities and the antipathy towards Christian believers by many in the LGBT community, must these two streams of human experience forever be divided? Enter Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. If you lived in Twelfth Century Europe, even if you were a lay person without benefit of reading, you would probably have heard of Hildegard. She was a leader of Benedictine sisters on the banks of the Rhine River in a mixed-gender monastery, a not unimportant fact since it signals that this was a time before many of the rules, codes and strictures of devotional religious life were set in stone. Hildegard wrote books of midwifery and herbal medicine; she composed music so remarkable and distinctive...

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