Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank
New Works Theatre Festival Season 4, 2020-2021

The Ground and Field Theatre Festival, the UC Davis-based forum for new stage works, will launch its fourth year in September with a new name — Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank.

As in the past, playwrights, composers, and lyricists will develop new works under the guidance of the festival’s co-artistic directors Mindy Cooper, UC Davis professor of theatre and dance, and alumna Lisa Quoresimo (Ph.D., performance studies, ‘18), assistant professor of theatre and dance at Southern Utah University. Due to COVID-19, Catalyst will be a virtual festival this year with online rehearsals and performances. The online process gives Catalyst a national footprint and allows creative teams to collaborate from various locations across time zones. The first event takes place in September.

The UC Davis College of Letters and Science’s Department of Theatre and Dance produces the 2020-2021 festival with support from the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, Bike City Theatre Company, Southern Utah University and San Francisco Youth Theatre.

“Catalyst will work with great playwrights and composers from around the globe and train exciting new theatre artists,” said Cooper. “Festival events will now occur throughout the year, embracing new technologies for remote development as needed. No matter how we do it or by what name, Catalyst will continue to be an agent of change for new works and new voices in the theatre.”

The festival kicks off with a webinar hosted by stage and screen actor Sharon Lawrence, best known for her role in “NYPD Blue,” with Cooper and Quoresimo, as well as writers and composers who will be taking part in Catalyst. The webinar will be livestreamed on Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. PDT. Register here for the webinar

September will feature readings of two new plays prior to the start of the academic year.

“Everything You Can Do (To Make The World a Better Place), by Ian August, is a Faustian comedy about the efficacy of activism, the hidden price of social justice, and how far we are willing to go to improve the world. Directed by Dyan McBride (M.F.A, dramatic art, ’05) and Friedenberg, the reading will be on Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. PDT. Register here to view “Everything You Can Do.” Warning: This play contains adult themes including gun violence and suicide as well as adult language. 

“Become the Flowers,” by Talia Friedenberg (B.A., theatre and dance, ‘19), poses the question: If the world was coming to an end, who would you want to spend the last hours with? The production is directed by Kyle Holmes (B.A., English, ‘10; M.A., education, ‘12), who wrote “RANKED, a New Musical” for the festival last year. The livestream is on Sept. 24 and 25 at 5 p.m. PDT. Register here to view “Become the Flowers.” Warning: This play contains themes of suicide/suicidal ideation.

Other Catalyst online readings during fall quarter will include “This Is How It Happened” by Sacramento native Anthony D’Juan and directed by Lyndsay Burch (associate artistic director, B Street Theatre) in October, and “Small Steps” by festival alumnus and Davis native Briandaniel Oglesby in November.

Performances continue in 2021 with “Bee in a Jar” by Andrew Nicholls (writer for “The Tonight Show” and Nickelodeon) and directed by Laura Hall (actor in “Pippin” and “Wonderland” on Broadway) in February, and the new musical “Juliet and Romeo” by Paul Gordon (Tony Award nominated composer of “Jane Eyre”) and Curtis Moore (Emmy Award nominee for music and lyrics for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) in May.

Catalyst productions may contain adult situations and language.

For details about these and other events, visit catalyst3t.com.


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