Pillsbury House + Theatre is excited to announce its 2023 season, curated by Artistic Producing Director Signe V. Harriday. The 31st season celebrates Windham-Campbell Prize Winner and longtime PH+T collaborator Sharon Bridgforth (River See, dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/The Show, The bull-jean Experience) with a series of her work, Benjamin Benne’s deeply resonant What/Washed Ashore/Astray, and the topical and poignant PASSAGE by Christopher Chen. Pillsbury House + Theatre will also be welcoming new plays from the Chicago Avenue Project program newly headed by Julia Snider Nickerson, a Black Dance Improvisation Festival centered around Leslie Parker’s Call to Remember workshop series, and rounded out with exciting original performances from the 2023 Naked Stages Fellows.
All performances will be presented indoors in the theatre space at Pillsbury House + Theatre and will adjust as needed to accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions.
ABOUT THE LINEUP:
The bull-jean stories by Sharon Bridgforth
Directed by Signe V. Harriday
January 12 – February 5
Using traditional storytelling and nontraditional verse to chronicle the course of love returning in the lifetimes of one woman-loving-woman named bull-dog-jean, the bull-jean stories follows 2022’s The bull-jean Experience to give cultural documentation and social commentary on African-American herstory and survival. After the groundbreaking production of Sharon Bridgforth’s dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/The Show in 2018, Pillsbury House + Theatre is elated to welcome back home the unmistakable brilliant artistry of this American Theatre treasure. Aimee K. Bryant takes the stage to bring to life Bridgforth’s poetic cast of characters and souls in this solo but multidimensional story that travels time and space.
What/Washed Ashore/Astray by Benjamin Benne
Directed by Noël Raymond
March 16 – April 16
Benne’s sensory play about deterioration follows the reunion of elderly twin sisters Cat and Chris at a cabin on the Pacific Northwest shoreline after it becomes apparent one of them will die within the year. Surrounded by the passage of time and the rhythm of the ocean – evoked by shadow puppetry created by Oanh Vu and Andrew Young – the depth of connection between the sisters and their relationship to the spaces they inhabit paints a character-driven portrait exploring senescence, grief, childhood, memory, and identity.
Call to Remember – Black Dance Improvisation Festival
April 28 & April 29
PH+T, in partnership with Pangea World Theater, will be building on a multi-year collaboration with Black Dance Artist Leslie Parker to implement a Black Dance Improvisation Festival as a new phase of an expansive body of work titled Call to Remember. This festival is a shared offering of improvisation, experimentation, and conjuring exploring Black pedagogy, artistry, and activism in dance. Containing the collaborative improvisation between dance artists, Call to Remember is an experience in real-time, a sharing, an uprising of real stories embedded deep within the subconscious.
bull-jean/we wake by Sharon Bridgforth
Directed by Daniel Alexander Jones
June 22- July 2
June 22- July 2
Building upon the visions realized during the December 2021 workshop at Pasadena Playhouse, and a continuation of The bull-jean Experience and The bull-jean stories, Sharon Bridgforth returns for the world premiere of bull-jean/we wake, a series of experiential performances and creative works directed by Daniel Alexander Jones. Delving through time and space, bull-jean/we wake envelopes our senses with incantations, memories, and prayers that bring us closer to our deepest questions and longings. This magical and dynamic collaboration demonstrates the power of theatre to transform and heal us all.
PASSAGE by Christopher Chen
Co-production with Exposed Brick Theatre
Co-directed by Signe V. Harriday and Suzy Messerole
September 21 – October 22
Set in the fictional Country X, a neocolonial client of Country Y, PASSAGE examines colonialism, power, and how societal imbalances affect interpersonal dynamics through the story of B, a local doctor, and F, an expat teacher, after their friendship is challenged during a fateful trip to a local attraction. This fantasia inspired by E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India is a deeply humane, poignant and affecting drama.
Chicago Avenue Project
Program directed by Julia Snider Nickerson
Spring: April 30, May 1, May 7 & May 8
Winter: Week of December 11
Since 1996, the Chicago Avenue Project (CAP) has brought local youth together with the Twin Cities’ best adult playwrights, actors, and directors to create and produce original plays. To learn more about CAP contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKnight Community-Engaged Artist Fellowship
Program directed by Mike Hoyt
This exciting fellowship program supports established artists who use their artistic practice to engage relationships aimed at producing social transformation. The McKnight Foundation and Pillsbury House + Theatre provide significant financial assistance for fellows, create opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, assist in organizing a public discussion series, and work with the fellows to pilot new creative initiatives.
Applications open in January 2023; contact email@example.com for more information.
Program directed by Masanari Kawahara
Performances Nov 9-18
The culmination of an intensive Jerome Fellowship for three early career performance artists at Pillsbury House + Theatre featuring fresh, personal, and bold solo performances.
Applications for the fellowship open January 15, 2023; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Pillsbury House + Theatre continues to offer pick-your-own-price tickets for all its productions.
Single tickets will be available soon.