English, Theatre departments establish new regional play festival

contact: Cara Barnes
| WMU News
Activate: Midwest New Play Festival logo.

The festival runs June 19-21.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two Western Michigan University academic departments are teaming up to stage a new play festival that will focus on developing and producing the plays of emerging theatre artists.

The inaugural Activate: Midwest New Play Festival is set for Friday through Sunday, June 19-21, in WMU's Gilmore Theatre Complex. Tickets for this free event can be reserved by calling the box office of the Gilmore Theatre Complex at (269) 387-6222.

The festival is organized by the departments of English and Theatre and is made possible by contributions from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and private donors.

Playwrights from across the region submitted their work to a reading committee, and four plays were selected for staged readings. After the festival, one of these plays will be selected to receive a workshop production in August at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago.

"New play development is vital to the future of American theatre and it is happening at every major theatre in the country so why not here on our college campus?" says Mark Liermann, WMU associate professor of theatre. "We are very excited to be training our students in this work—to be engaging with these tremendously talented playwrights creating new work."


Friday, June 19

  • 8 p.m.—Keynote speaker, Sarah Ruhl.
  • 8:30 p.m.—Staged reading of Ruhl's new play, The Oldest Boy," followed by a question-and-answer period.

Saturday, June 20

  • 4 p.m.—"Home is a Passing Feeling" by Karina Cochran, followed by a discussion with the playwright.
  • 8 p.m.—"Spin" by Emilio Rodriguez, followed by a discussion with the playwright.

Sunday, June 21

  • 2 p.m.—"Cane River King" by Jeremy Llorence, followed by a discussion with the playwright.
  • 5 p.m.—"Ghostbears!" by Eric Appleton, followed by a discussion with the playwright.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.