Invited Productions for Festival 2020 Announced!

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Invited Productions for Festival 2020 Announced!

The Region IV KCACTF Executive Committee is pleased to announce the slate of shows that have been invited to perform at this year’s Festival.

Each show will have a matinee and evening performance in the Performing Arts Center on the USC Upstate Campus. (pictured below)

Spartanburg Theatre

The committee faced the particularly difficult task this year of selecting from over a dozen recommended and well qualified productions. The selection process was agonizing because so many deserving shows could not be recognized with an invitation.

Nonetheless, we are confident that the Festival audience will be inspired and entertained by this slate of productions.

This year’s slate of invited productions include:

In addition to these invited performances, we will also feature the David L. Shelton full-length, student-written work – Moving by Sean McCord, produced by Hollins University along with the presentations of the National Playwriting Program works featured in the last Regional News.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the venue capacity, all performances will be ticketed as general admission and alternate programming will be provided during performances.

In response to feedback from last year, we have made every effort to have all possible Festival programming housed on the USC Upstate Campus.

Below are comments from each of the shows’ directors.

“Red Velvet” … explores the life of Ira Aldridge, (1807-1867) an American black actor who took up residence in England and whose approach to acting outraged fellow performers and audiences alike. Aldridge sought to deliver deeper emotional truth with each performance. Ira Aldridge was well ahead of his time. The passion and rawness of his intuition shocked audiences and fellow actors alike and it was only after the second performance of “Othello” at London’s famed Theatre Royal, Covent Garden that he was summarily dismissed by the theatre board. Aldridge ended his life performing in little-known theatres in central Europe. With such unbridled freedoms as we have today, it is hard to imagine a time when it was impermissible for an actor to turn his back on the audience. Respect, dignity, and reputation were everything and “Red Velvet” is packed with episodes in which new ideas confront old traditions making for a gripping ride back to the future of theatre history! 


Phillip Church

Although it’s been nearly twenty years since the incident in Crown Heights, Brooklyn that sparked Anna Deavere Smith to create Fires in the Mirror, the climate of misunderstanding and mistrust amongst divergent people and groups continues to grow throughout the country.  Even though the violence in Crown Heights was incited by an accident, it displayed the tenuous relationships between marginalized groups living in close proximity.  

Anna Deavere Smith’s work puts the idea of walking in another’s shoes into theatrical form.  Fires in the Mirror was originally a one-woman show based on monologues Smith compiled from interviews with people connected to the real-life events that Smith then performed. By portraying each character, Smith stepped into the shoes of those on the ground in Crown Heights.  Isn’t this what we really need today, to truly learn to empathize with another’s experience?  [The director has cast 8 performers to perform 23 monologues with intentional attention to cross-gender and cross-ethnic casting.]

Part of my reasoning for wanting to include this production in the UofL Department of Theatre Arts Season of Black Plays was to challenge the assumptions which happen often in the white community of there being a monolithic “Black perspective” or “Jewish perspective”.  The play reminds the audience that while we may be anchored within our communities, Black, Jewish, Caribbean, Jamaican, Orthodox, Lubavitch, etc. we each have a multitude of experiences that create complex individual perspectives and how we connect both within and out of these is what matters most.


Ariadne Calvano

The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Wit is an extraordinary story that chronicles the final days of Dr. Vivian Bearing’s struggle with stage IV metastatic ovarian cancer. Although Bearing suffers from a very specific form of cancer, it is my belief that we as a society have the unfortunate common bond of having some sort of dealing(s) with this pervasive disease. 

Victoria Highsmith, a sophomore theatre major at SGSC who portrays the lead role, had this to say:

“This is for all those brave and strong humans who have battled, or are battling, this terrifying, life-altering disease. I have had numerous people in my life who have battled cancer or are currently battling cancer. Cancer is a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical battle; it is a battle for life. This play displays all of that, — the lows, the laughs, the grace and the battle for life — in a real and intellectual way.” 


Katherine LeRoy

Watch for more details about the festival programming as we enter the new year.

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