PURE Theatre is excited to announce Season 18: Season of Hope, which will begin offering a variety of virtual content and, conditions permitting, live performances with audiences.
“It’s an incredible time to be a theatre company,” says Sharon Graci, PURE Theatre co-founder and Artistic Director. “For 17 years PURE has worked to build a community around our work, igniting conversations about topics and subjects that impact and inform our lives as Charlestonians, South Carolinians, Americans, and human beings living in the 21st century. And while circumstances of producing theatre may be unprecedented, the essence of PURE shines through as we continue to keep the promises we made almost two decades ago: to only tell stories worth listening to, to relentlessly strive for excellence, and to always give audiences something to talk about when they leave the theatre.”
Season 18 bears the tagline “Season of Hope” and celebrates stories of inspiration and aspiration, featuring five productions that illuminate the lives of some of the world’s most iconic and influential people. The season will also celebrate the trials and triumphs of everyday people. Each of the plays in Season 18: Season of Hope will be recorded using professional filmmakers and videographers and will be available via a streaming link for ticket holders. In addition, when audiences are permitted and can gather safely, PURE will follow all City of Charleston protocols to offer as many live performances of the work as possible. “Over the years, we’ve jokingly called ourselves ‘the little company that could,’” Graci says. “There’s really no other choice than to keep growing. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re using these circumstances to become a better PURE. One that reaches more people, offers new ways to be in community, and welcomes new voices to our conversations. Though these are challenging times, we’re beyond grateful for the chance to keep doing and sharing our work.”
Season 18: Season of Hope kicks off in October 2020 with No Child by Obie Award-winning playwright Nilaja Sun, presented in partnership with Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa. Featuring PURE Core Ensemble member Joy Vandervort-Cobb, No Child is an insightful exploration of the state of education as seen within the halls and classrooms of fictional Malcolm X High School. Winner of two Outer Critics Circle Awards, “it’s enough to make angels weep” (Variety).
December 2020 brings Satchmo at the Waldorf by Terry Teachout. Louis Armstrong reflects on his experiences as a black musician at the end of his career in a “deep, impassioned bio-play about a jazz legend…a work of insight and power” (Boston Globe).
The season continues in January 2021 with Little Gem by Elaine Murphy. Telling the story of Amber, Lorraine, and Kay, three generations of North Dublin women who find themselves suddenly facing the unexpected, the play moves through a year in their life, discovering the beauty and complexity of family. Winner of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Little Gem tells “a slice-of-life story through interwoven, interlocking monologues” (NY Times).
March of 2021 will feature Gloria: A Life by Tony Award-nominee Emily Mann, bringing a rich, detailed tapestry of one of the most inspiring women’s advocates, Gloria Steinem. Five decades after Gloria began raising her voice for equality and championing those of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. The first act is Gloria’s story; the second is our own.
Rounding out the season in May/June 2021 is The Play That Goes Wrong by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer. “When your world — or, as it often seems these days, the world — is falling apart, there’s perverse comfort in watching things go smash in a safe, contained environment” (NY Times). Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong is exactly right, right now.
In addition to their five-play offering, PURE will launch a variety of digital content that will be included in the PURE All-Access Pass. The PURE THEATRE PODCAST, beginning September 2020, is a deep conversation with PURE’s Core of artists, guest directors, playwrights, and actors. Host and Core Ensemble member, Michael Smallwood, brings his experience and artistic perspective to chats about drama, productions past and present, and what it means to work at PURE on some of the most challenging and insightful plays out there.
PURE 101 will also be launching via Zoom, taking participants behind the scenes to ask poignant questions about the nature of Theatre. PURE 101 is a primer to all things PURE with host, Co-Founder and Core Ensemble Member, Rodney Lee Rogers, bringing live weekly lectures, workshops, and Q&A.
PURE is also partnering with Buxton Books to create the PURE VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB, delving into books that further PURE’s mission to inspire thought, ignite dialogue, and heighten consciousness. Books will be curated by Polly Buxton, owner of Buxton Books, and PURE Artistic Director, Sharon Graci. The book club will include access to live conversations with authors, playwrights, and thought leaders, as well as Story Hour with PURE’s Core Ensemble, in which sections of the book are read aloud.
All-Access Season Flex Passes and additional information about productions and digital offerings are now available at www.puretheatre.org and at the PURE Theatre box office at 843-723-4444 Tuesday – Friday from 10am to 6pm. All-Access Season Flex Passes are $175 each. Individual tickets, both virtually and live, will be determined show by show and information will be available via PURE’s website and box office. Advance purchases are strongly recommended.