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  • AN Act of courage in Montgomery Sparked a National Movement... Montgomery is home to Mrs. Rosa McCauley Parks. Rosa Parks became a Civil Rights pioneer in Montgomery by courageously taking a stand and not giving up her seat which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum and Library is a tribute to that memorable movement.
  • Paddles Up!…the Montgomery Dragon Boat Festival was the first in Alabama and is now the largest Dragon Boat Festival east of the Mississippi and one of the largest attended festivals in the River Region.

The Souther Writer’s Project Festival Marks 25 Years of New Southern Plays

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Montgomery, AL  (Monday, April 25, 2015) Four new plays will be presented in concert readings as part of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writers’ Project Festival of New Plays, May 6-8, 2015.  The Festival is the annual culmination of the Southern Writers’ Project (SWP), which develops plays by Southern playwrights that celebrate the Southern Experience.  The readings will be available to the public over the festival weekend.

Tickets for each concert reading are $15 for adults or $10 for students.  Audiences are given the opportunity to talk back after each reading and share their thoughts about the play.   Participants can choose to attend a single reading or the whole weekend with a special package that includes meals, activities, and interaction with the artists.  For information contact the ASF box office at 800.841.4273 or visit online at ASF is located at 1 Festival Drive in Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park.

“For 25 years the Southern Writers’ Project has been contributing plays about the South and by Southern playwrights to the national theatre canon,” said Nancy Rominger, Director of the Southern Writers’ Project and ASF Associate Artistic Director.  “Over 50% of the plays workshopped by SWP have gone on to receive their world premieres, and over 75% of those world premieres have received subsequent productions.   These are amazing statistics unmatched by other new play development programs, and really illustrate the significance of the Southern Writers’ Project on a national scale.” 

The festival opens with the 4pm reading on Friday, May 6 of Peter Hick’s hilarious Lovesick.  When an advertising executive begs off of a fundraiser mixer with his wife to stay at home to “work” with his curvaceous assistant, he has no idea that his wife has some murderous plans of her own!   ASF patrons may recall the World Premiere of Peter Hicks’ Thinking of You on the Festival Stage in 2008.  A Friday evening package is available that includes the reading, talk-back event and a dinner reception with the actors and playwrights.  Package Reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, May 5th. 

Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. the festival continues with a reading of Prince Duren’s Delta Secret.  An ex-boxer working on a farm in 1920s Mississippi outbids his boss when he and his brother-in-law purchase a building downtown to convert into a night club.  The resulting tensions cause family secrets to be revealed.  There is a package available that includes a boxed lunch.  Package Reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, May 5th. 

The public is invited to the Black Swan Pub at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 for free readings of the winners of our annual YSWP (Young Southern Writers’ Project) competition.  Our actors will read three one-act plays by high-school playwrights.  The YSWP event is followed by a free ice cream social. 

Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. we continue with In the Midnight Hour by Kenneth Green, a new musical that celebrates the life and music of Prattville native Wilson Pickett.  One of the most popular singers of the ‘60s, Wilson Picket scored a series of R&B and popular hits on Atlantic Records between 1964 and 1972 that included “in the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Funky Broadway.”    A Saturday evening package is available that includes the reading, talk-back event and a dinner reception with the actors and playwrights.  Package Reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, May 5th. 

The festival closes after a Sunday, May 8 10:30 a.m. reading of Starstruck by Lucile Lichtblau.  The Goldenbergs, a struggling Jewish family in the midst of the Great Depression and impending war, are dazzled by dreams of Hollywood.  A Sunday morning package is available that includes breakfast, the reading and talk-back event.  Package Reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, May 5th.

Intensive rehearsals and development for each play takes place for the entire week preceding the concert readings. Actors, directors and dramaturges are specially selected to help explore and grow the story, structure and characters in each one of the plays.   Plays selected out of the festival for further development go on to have their world premiere - SWP plays have been produced not only on our stage at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, but at other theaters across the country including the Denver Theater Center, Metro Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hartford Stage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, North Coast Repertory Theatre and the Alliance Theatre. 

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is among the largest Shakespeare theatres in the world. Designated as The State Theatre of Alabama, ASF has been located in Montgomery since 1985 when it moved from Anniston as a result of Mr. and Mrs. Wynton M. Blount’s gift of a performing arts complex set in the 250-acre Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park. This program/project has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
SWP is endowed by an Anonymous donor.                                    

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