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Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for the 2021/2022 Season
Top row: travis tate, Ali Viterbi, Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Bottom row: Ken-Matt Martin, Devon de Mayo, Lili-Anne Brown
In addition to the mainstage season, Victory Gardens presents the evolution of the Ignition Festival of New Plays, now renamed the Ignition New Play Program, sponsored by The Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation. The Ignition New Play Program consists of two events for the 2021/22 season: the Ignite Chicago reading series, offering free readings of new works between October 2021 and July 2022, and the 20/50 Festival in June 2022, featuring 3 new works by playwrights over 50, staged by VG Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows.
Top row: Nygel D. Robinson, Brian Quijada, Ada A.
bottom row: Nicholas Pilapil, Gage Tarlton, Rhiana Yazzie
“We have lost so much in the past 18 months, and I don’t take for granted that those of us still living are blessed to have survived,” says Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. “The pandemic has left many of us wondering, ‘How do we move forward?’ All of these plays feature families dealing with the fallout of situations beyond their control—much like the last 18 months we all just endured. These families move forward with love, humor, joy, and a commitment to healing long-held hurts. I am hopeful this season inspires those who see it to do the same.”
The Ignition New Play Program will include the 20/50 Festival and a yearlong new play reading series, Ignite Chicago. The 20/50 Festival will feature 3 playwrights over age 50, and all plays will be staged by the Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows. Ignite Chicago readings will take place not only at Victory Gardens’ home in Lincoln Park, the Biograph Theater, but at partner locations throughout the city, to bring new plays into Chicago’s many
communities. “It was important to me to not only continue but expand the Theater’s commitment to new play development as we reopen, and credit goes to Roxanna Conner for her instrumental work in redeveloping Ignition for the future,” added Ken-Matt Martin.
“We’ll be offering more resources and opportunities for our Ignite Chicago playwrights, as well as creating a new festival devoted to those often overlooked in our industry: the veterans, and the next generation of up-and-coming artists. By bringing these two groups together, it creates a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and learning between artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to create together,” shares Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner.
Flex Passes to the 2021/22 Season are currently on sale at victorygardens.org or by phone at 773.871.3000, and offer 20% savings over single ticket prices. Single tickets will go on sale later this fall, and range from $29-$62. Registration for Ignition New Play Program events will be available at victorygardens.org approximately one month before each event.
In conjunction with a coalition of member theatres of the League of Chicago Theatres, Victory Gardens has new attendance policies in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees to all in-person events will be asked to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours, and must remain masked for the duration of their time at the Biograph.
In addition to its onstage work, Victory Gardens has invested in inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and anti-racism (IDEAA) projects over the past year. The outcome of this work has been numerous adjustments to artistic practices and policies, as well as new initiatives designed to make IDEAA an integral part of the Theater’s daily work. For full details on changes and projects to date, visit victorygardens.org/idea.
Queen of the Night
By travis tate
Directed by Ken-Matt Martin
Saturday, January 29, 2022 - Sunday, March 13, 2022
Press Openings: Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5, 2022
A divorced father and his queer son head to the woods of southeastern Texas to relive the camping trips of earlier, easier days. But even without cell service, certain things are inescapable. Playwright travis tate explores masculinity and queerness through the lens of multi-generational Blackness, offering a hilarious, heart-rending family portrait about reckoning with the wilderness of a shared past, while facing an uncertain future. Staged
by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, Queen of the Night will kick off the 2021/22 Season.
The Queen of the Night design team includes: Sydney Lynne (Scenic), Rueben D. Echoles (Costumes), Sim Carpenter (Lights), and G Clausen (Sound).
In Every Generation
By Ali Viterbi
Directed by Devon de Mayo
Saturday, April 2, 2022 - Sunday, May 1, 2022
Press Opening: Friday, April 8, 2022
Each Passover, for four millennia, we ask: why is this night different from all other nights? And each year, the Levi-Katz clan has answered, while grappling with questions of race and religion that never seem to get resolved. The family finds strength in tradition (vegan brisket or no); but each year of celebration brings more pressing questions about the future: if trauma is generational, then must we be defined by it? Will we ever be free? Written by Ali Viterbi, In Every Generation was the 2019 winner of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest, and will have its world premiere at Victory Gardens, staged by Devon de Mayo (If I Forget, Victory Gardens).
By Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
Saturday, June 11, 2022 - Sunday, July 17, 2022
Press Opening: Friday, June 17, 2022
Thanksgiving, 2016: Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for 936 days. Marion, a third-generation General Motors assembly line worker, worries over impending layoffs while struggling to fight the poison that floods her home—and her family's bodies. When her sister, Ainee, seeks restitution for lead poisoning, secrets bubble to the surface, threatening to capsize not only their family, but all of Vehicle City. Penned by award-winning playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza, cullud wattah will be staged by Victory Gardens Resident Director Lili-Anne Brown (Lottery Day; School Girls: Or The African Mean Girls Play, Goodman Theatre).
The cullud wattah design team includes: Sydney Lynne (Scenic), Christine Pascual (Costumes), Jason Lynch (Lights), Trey Brazeal (Associate Lights), and Victoria Deiorio (Sound).
cullud wattah is sponsored by The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation.
Ignite Chicago Reading Series
Readings will take place at Victory Gardens Theater and partner locations to be announced. All readings are free to attend, but RSVPs will be required, as capacity for each reading is limited.
October 2021: Mexodus by Nygel D. Robinson & Brian Quijada
November 2021: Tokens of Promise by Ada A.
December 2021: The Bottoming Process by Nicholas Pilapil
February 2022: exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body by Gage Tarlton
July 2022: Nancy by Rhiana Yazzie
June 2022 at Victory Gardens Theater
Featuring 3 new works by playwrights over age 50. Full details to be announced next year.
For complete details on the 2021/2022 Season and artists, Flex Passes, and the Ignition New Play Program, please visit victorygardens.org.
Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Allstate Insurance, Alphawood Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Exelon Corporation, Illinois Arts Council, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and The Shubert Foundation.
Victory Gardens also receives support from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Coffman Law Offices, Conant Family Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Food, Goldman Sachs, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Mayer Brown LLP, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, and The Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation.
About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays, which has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater, and continued by former Artistic Director Chay Yew.
Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.
Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage, and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.
For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens, and Instagram @victorygardenstheater.