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The Sheen Center Theater Festival

June 20 - 23, 2019

Please Note: The readings are sold out.  You can sign up for a waitlist below:

***Please note ticket reservations for the waitlist are limited to one ticket per reading. Placing your name on this waitlist is not a guarantee that we will be able to accommodate you for the show that you would like to attend, but we will do our best. Please also note that this form is good for 1 ticket per show you sign up for. If you are hoping to attend with someone, please have them sign the waitlist form separately. Thank you!

Now in its third year, The Sheen Center Theater Festival celebrates the voices of emerging and established Catholic playwrights. The Festival operates from the premise that the work of a Catholic writer will provide glimpses of a Catholic vision, no matter what their subject.

This year, The Sheen Center Theater Festival celebrates the voices of emerging and established Catholic playwrights featuring work by established playwrights Caridad Svich (OBIE Award Winner), Nathan Yungerberg (Cherry Lane mentee under Stephen Adley Guirgus), William Baer (Guggenheim Fellowship recipient), and Erik Ehn (Whiting Award winner) as well as an arrangement and performance of The Gospel of John with actor Ken Jennings.

Admission Free.  RSVP Required.

Thursday, June 20th, 7 PM

Thea by Nathan Yungerberg
Directed by Zhailon Levingston
Musical Direction by Mario Sprouse.

An Afro-surrealist fantasy for anyone who feels that they have run out of hope. A fantastical otherworld journey of a fifteen-year-old girl inspired by the love and light of Sister Thea Bowman.

During the early hours of March 30, 1990, a young black girl whose life is saturated with hopelessness finds herself situated in the sky, which isn’t really the sky but because it felt like a place that was high above everything, the sky was the best way she could describe it. In the tradition of  American oral storytelling, fantasy and folklore, Thea follows fifteen-year-old Josephine on a fantastical other world journey where she encounters wicked trees, a kaleidoscope of butterflies, and Sister Thea Bowman and her ancestral guardians who are accompanying Thea “home” as she nears the final hours of her life.

Friday, June 21st, 7 PM

Red Bike by Caridad Svich
Directed by Kate Bergstrom

What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now. Cities change. People change. Get on your bike and ride.

Saturday, June 22nd, 7 PM

The Weak and the Strong by Erik Ehn
Directed by Glory Kadigan

Inspired by Paul’s letters to the Romans and Hebrews, the play is a contemporary look at the mysterious compulsions that lead us to do what we wouldn’t and avoid what we would. A rodeo rider, too old to be riding, rides, as his mind and body slip, and his family struggles with the right ways to care.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2 PM

Three Generations of Imbeciles by William Baer
Directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan

He won’t be able to prevent 70,000 forced sterilizations, but maybe he can prevent one.

After forced sterilizations are approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927, David Prescott, a young lawyer in Delaware, fights against all odds to prevent the sterilization of a helpless sixteen-year-old girl. At the Delaware Colony for the Feebleminded (1927), Dr. John Campbell is forcibly prevented from sexually mutilating Abigail Smith against her will.  Eventually, David Prescott, a former prosecutor, agrees to try and prevent Abby’s forced sterilization, assisted by Eugenics expert Rebecca Dawson. The historical background of this play is the U.S. government’s involvement in the forced sterilizations of genetic “defectives” – over 70,000 Americans – made possible by the Supreme Court’s Buck v. Bell decision to prevent future “generations of imbeciles.”

Sunday, June 23rd, 6:30 PM

The Gospel of John
Arranged and Performed by Ken Jennings

Drama Desk-winning Broadway actor Ken Jennings (Sweeney Todd, Grand Hotel, Sideshow) started memorizing the Gospel According to John as a spiritual practice during a difficult time in his life. In time, he worked his way through the entire Gospel, learning it chapter by chapter. As he mastered the text, his one-man version of the abridged Gospel became this theater piece. See Ken’s interview with Aleteia on the work.

Many of the past festival playwrights are in our new program, The Sheen Center Fellows

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