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THEATER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT ANNOUNCES 2011-12 SEASON

September 7, 2011
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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Theater of the First Amendment,

 George Mason University’s professional theater company-in-residence,

announces its 2011-12 season featuring new works and engaging stories

 

· This season includes two world premieres, including OBIE Award winner Kaiulani Lee’s original one-woman play, “Can’t Scare Me, the story of Mother Jones,” and a multidisciplinary collaboration by Heather McDonald and Susan Shields titled “STAY.”

· TFA continues partnerships with the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Hylton Presents at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and Great Performances at Mason at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, and adds an important new venue partner, the Lansburgh Theatre in downtown D.C.

· The season offers the first-ever Theater at Mason co-production, featuring TFA and the Mason Players in David Edgar’s new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Life of Galileo.”

 

Fairfax, VA, Sept. 7, 2011 - Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), George Mason University’s professional theater company-in-residence, announces its 2011-12 season, featuring three ambitious, innovative works including two world premieres. True to TFA’s 20-year history of producing thought-provoking theater, the season includes explorations of urgent questions on a scale ranging from the personal to the societal to the cosmic. 

 TFA’s season opens with the world premiere of “Can’t Scare Me, the story of Mother Jones,” a one-woman play, written and performed by OBIE Award-winning actress and Mason faculty member Kaiulani Lee. “Mark Twain says that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” according to Mother Jones, as brought to life by Kaiulani Lee in a riveting solo performance about the formative days of the American labor movement. Called “the most dangerous woman in America,” Mother Jones “educated, agitated and organized” on behalf of child laborers, coal miners, steel workers and all working people. Directed by TFA’s co-artistic director, Rick Davis, “Can’t Scare Me, the story of Mother Jones” debuts at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s intimate Sprenger Theatre in Washington, D.C. from Oct.14-30, 2011. The production then travels to George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus on Feb. 17, 2012 for one performance in TheaterSpace, a 200-seat black-box venue.

Following only a few weeks later, TFA makes its first appearance at the Shakespeare Theater Company’s Lansburgh Theatre with the world premiere of “STAY.” This innovative performance piece, conceived by Heather McDonald, TFA’s co-artistic director, and Susan Shields, an acclaimed choreographer and professor in Mason’s School of Dance, merges theater, dance, SLAM multimedia and music to wrestle with the issue of impermanence and all the ways we long for things, people and life to simply ”stay.” Written and directed by McDonald and choreographed by Shields, “STAY” will be performed at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 11-27, 2011. TFA will also present the production at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on April 27, 2012 and the Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, on April 29, 2012 as part of the subscription series at each venue.

In its final production of the season, TFA collaborates with George Mason University’s Mason Players in Bertolt Brecht’s 20th century classic “The Life of Galileo,” adapted by the contemporary British playwright David Edgar from a literal translation by Deborah Gearing. In the story of Galileo’s astronomical discoveries and the resulting conflicts with the established order, urgent questions of our time rise up and collide: does a scientist’s responsibility end with the moment of discovery? What is the role of faith and its institutions in a changing world? Directed by Rick Davis, this co-production of “The Life of Galileo” comes to the 500-seat Harris Theater on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus from March 22 to April 7, 2012.

In addition to its regular season, TFA will present its signature play development program, the 11th Annual First Light Discovery Program, featuring free staged readings of new work by national and regional playwrights and the rising voices of student and community writers. Readings will be presented in two phases: student and community offerings on Saturday, June 9, 2012 with professional work taking the stage on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

TFA’s season is supported in part by generous contributions from Boeing, George Mason University, the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Theater of the First Amendment 2011-12 Season

 

“Can’t Scare Me, the story of Mother Jones”

Oct. 14-30, 2011    Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Theatre, Washington, D.C.
Feb. 17, 2012         George Mason University, TheaterSpace, Fairfax, Va.

 

“STAY”

Nov. 11-27, 2011  Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, D.C.

April 27, 2012        George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall, Fairfax, Va.
April 29, 2012        Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall, Manassas, Va.

 

“The Life of Galileo”

March 22-April 7, 2012    George Mason University, Harris Theater, Fairfax, Va.

 

11th Annual First Light Discovery Program

June 9, 2012      Student Series       George Mason University, TheaterSpace, Fairfax, Va.

June 10, 2012    Professional Series       George Mason University, TheaterSpace, Fairfax, Va.

 

For more information and online ticket purchases, visit www.TheateroftheFirstAmendment.org

 

About Theater of the First Amendment

Theater of the First Amendment is the professional theater company of Theater at Mason, working alongside George Mason University’s Department of Theater and the Mason Players to create a full spectrum of theatrical production and educational opportunity. TFA’s distinctive mission is to discover, develop and launch new, thought-provoking plays, and serve as an artistic home to the next generation of playwrights. Since 1990, TFA has produced 44 full productions and numerous staged readings of new work. Our productions have been honored with 12 Helen Hayes Awards and 37 nominations. Many plays originating at TFA have been published, produced nationally and internationally, televised and broadcast, or recorded as award-winning original soundtracks.

 

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

 

About the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,140-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, is sure to quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of collaboration and commitment to the arts.

 

About the Mason Players and the George Mason University Department of Theater

The Mason Players is a faculty-directed student organization within the Department of Theater. Students, faculty, staff and community supporters come together to produce and enjoy plays in the Mainstage Series, the Studio Series and the Ten-Minute Play Festival. In Mason’s Theater program, undergraduate students train with and work alongside theater professionals who encourage them to engage their skills in professional, academic, regional and global communities. Unique resources, exciting work and academic rigor blend to provide a professional approach in a liberal arts environment.

 

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.

 

About the Atlas Performing Arts Center

The Atlas’ mission is to foster the artistic growth of professional and aspiring performing artists throughout the region; to create a new model for collaborative arts management; to establish a unique community-centered venue for training and education in the performing arts and stagecraft; and to energize and sustain the revitalization of H Street, NE and the surrounding community.

 

About the Shakespeare Theatre Company

The mission of the Shakespeare Theatre Company is to present classic theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens. The Shakespeare Theatre Company endeavors to be an important resource to an expanded national and international community—as the nation’s premier destination for classic theatre, as a training ground for the next generation of theatre artists and as a model provider of high-quality educational content for students and scholars.