Inis Nua Theatre Company is proud to celebrate its 15th anniversary with the announcement of the 2018-2019 season. Music, laughter and mystery will fill the stage as Inis Nua presents the American Premieres of Inua Ellams’ untitled and Monsay Whitney’s Box Clever, plus the Philadelphia Premiere of David Greig’s The Monster in the Hall. With the new season, Inis Nua will continue to be the only America theatre exploring exciting contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. All three works from across the pond will continue to bring Philadelphia audiences provocative, shocking and jubilant work by some of the best playwrights of today. Performances will be held at Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street. Subscriptions for the season are currently available and single tickets are on sale now. For tickets and more information, visit www.inisnuatheatre.org or call (215) 454-9776.
Since the company’s founding in 2004, Inis Nua Theatre Company has become a distinct voice and a firmly established company in the great Philadelphia theatre community. The best part of this journey has been seeing the growth of the audience, cheering and confirming their support for Inis Nua’s unique mission. For 2018-2019, Inis Nua will build upon last year’s record season by continuing to “tell the story” through three main stage productions, the annual Pop-up Play in a Pub Fundraiser, and an annual reading series.
In assembling the upcoming season, Artistic Director Tom Rein has drawn from the long list he has compiled over 15 years of intriguing plays he would like Inis Nua to present. He has had his eye on David Greig’s The Monster in the Hall for five years now and has also long wanted to bring Inua Ellams’ work to Philadelphia. By contrast, Box Clever is comparatively new—Tom saw it at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. All three main stage shows will be in the intimate Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake. Although not intentional or overt, these three plays can very much take their place among the conversations and currents going on now in the UK, the US and around the world by highlighting the dreams and aspirations of the young, the sick, the poor and the immigrant. Fighting systems designed to keep people in their place is a situation shared by many people around the world. These plays all have hope though, and joy, as well as humor that shines through even the most serious plots.
The Monster in the Hall
Written by David Greig
Directed by Claire Moyer
October 3-21, 2018
From Scotland, The Monster in the Hall kicks off the new season with songs in the spirit of Inis Nua’s Barrymore Award-winning Midsummer [a play with songs], also written by David Greig. Duck Macatarsney is a teenage girl from the little Scottish town of Kirkcaldy. Duck and her father are doing great. At least that’s what they’d like the social worker that’s visiting today to believe—she doesn’t need to know that Duck’s father just woke up blind, or who that random Norwegian woman in the closet is. With the help of her own backup band, The Marvelous Duckettes, Duck is sure to persuade anyone and everyone that she and her dad are absolutely, positively, certifiably fine. The Glasgow Theatre Blog said of The Monster in the Hall, “The story is infused with such infectious charm and wit that I defy anyone not to be completely engaged by its joy and exuberance”. Full of teen spirit and teenage kicks, this play with songs is directed by Claire Moyer with music by Nigel Dunn & Stephen Wright. Running October 3-21, 2018 at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake.
Written by Monsay Whitney
Directed by Tom Reing
February 6-24, 2018
Much like 2016’s Spine, Box Clever by Monsay Whitney tells the story of one woman against the world. “Whitney’s text is infused with anger, vulnerability, comedy and overwhelming honesty” says Broadway Baby. In a women’s shelter in London, Marnie is doing her best to care for her four-year-old daughter. But it would be a lot easier if she had the support of her case workers, or could finally ditch the three useless ex-boyfriends that keep hanging around her. Mouthy, headstrong and maybe just a tad crazy, Marnie is going to prove to everyone that she’s a competent mother. Because she is…isn’t she? If you liked Spine, you’ll love Box Clever. This American Premiere from England is directed by Tom Reing and runs February 6-24, 2018 at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake.
Written by Inua Ellams
Directed by Jerrell L. Henderson
April 24-May 12, 2018
Inua Ellams’ untitled was a hit when it premiered in London in 2010, and Inis Nua is very excited to bring it to Philadelphia audiences. Also, like Spine, untitled was first presented as part of our Reading Series, and there was no doubt then that Artistic Director Tom Reing wanted a full production to follow. Two brothers are born on Nigerian Independence Day. But on the night of their naming, one brother cries out and refuses to be named—that act set an unalterable course for his life. Untitled is his story and the story of his twin brother who has a life and a marketing career in London where he names products. Myth intertwines with reality as the brothers are drawn together. As The Guardian said, “A piece that feels both modern and ancient, touched by the otherworldly yet grounded in reality”. untitled creates a world where the past catches up to us and where a name spells destiny. This production is directed by Jerrell L. Henderson. Running April 24-May 12, 2018 at The Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake.
Medicine in Modern Life
The Effect, November 12, 2018
Fibres, January 14, 2019
Tomcat, June 10, 2019
This year’s Reading Series: Medicine in Modern Life takes a look at how medical and scientific advances have shaped our lives. “Medicine in Modern Life is the theme of our reading series for 2018-2018,” added Reing. “We will explore how we are affected by the treatment we receive, the illnesses we suffer, and the motivations of those who treat us—three very different stories show the problems created by the solutions in science and medicine.”
In The Effect by Lucy Prebble, Connie and Tristan meet on a paid overnight drug trial, but the chemistry isn’t immediate. When a romance starts to develop under these strange conditions, it’s hard to tell what is a genuine emotion and what is just a side effect. Fibres by Frances Poet looks at how one man’s exposure to asbestos as a shipbuilder in 1970s Glasgow has shaped his family’s life for decades. Now his wife and daughter must each make their own peace with the consequences. Tomcat envisions a world where enforced pre-natal screenings have eliminated most medical conditions. In this play by James Rushbrooke, a twelve-year-old orphan under observation as an unscreened “rare specimen” offers her health care workers a chance to reclaim another kind of humanity. All readings are Monday nights at 7:00 pm at the Theatres at The Drake. The Effect begins the series on November 12, with Fibres on January 14 and Tomcat on June 10. Reading Series: Medicine in Modern Life is made possible, in part, by Thomas Jefferson University.
Pop-Up Play in a Pub;
Written by Elizabeth Kuti
Directed by Claire Moyer
March 19-21 and 26-28, 2018
Inis Nua’s Pop-Up Play in a Pub brings you a short play and a terrific early night out, complete with beverage and Stargazy meat or veggie pie. This season’s offering is Fishskin Trousers by Elizabeth Kuti. From England, Fishskin Trousers is a magical and haunting tale set by the sea in East Anglia. Linear time is reshaped as three people from three different eras become entwined with a mysterious presence in the sea. Fable or fate? It becomes hard to untangle as the loss each of them carries becomes a part of the sea’s deep, unknowable story. Directed by Claire Moyer. This year the Pop-Up Play in a Pub has a two-week run…six performances! It all pops up at Fergie’s Pub (1214 Sansom Street) at 6:00pm on March 19-21 and 26-28, 2018.
Tell the Story. That is Inis Nua’s slogan and the company has been doing just that for fifteen years! The company’s mission is to bring you contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and to show that the iconic storytelling tradition of this part of the world is as vibrant as ever.
Writer David Fox said, “Many works here originate in European Fringe festivals, where the style is punchy and often deliberately shocking. At the same time, founder and artistic director Tom Reing is one of Philly’s most thoughtful and nuanced directors. It’s a great combination that has positioned Inis Nua as one of the Philadelphia theater companies to watch, especially for those whose taste runs on the edgy side.”
Through the years, Inis Nua’s aesthetic has included plays that are many times monologues or direct address or storytelling.
“While we also mount large dramas, these unique, theatrical genres make for an intimate experience,” said Reing. Seeing Dublin by Lamplight in Ireland in 2004 inspired Reing to found Inis Nua Theatre Company and, not only did Inis Nua introduce the play to Philadelphia, the company also took that acclaimed production to New York’s First Irish Festival in 2011 and won the Award for Best Ensemble. Inis Nua revisited Dublin by Lamplight again in 2017—in a co-production with Drexel University, we taught a new generation of artists this unique storytelling style.
Philadelphia audiences loved Trad when it was showcased by the 2007 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (now Fringe Arts). That encouraged Inis Nua to present Skin Deep the next year and take the leap into multiple-play seasons. This journey has earned the company Barrymore nominations for Dublin by Lamplight, Spine and Radiant Vermin.
Inis Nua has won Barrymore Awards for Midsummer [a play with songs] and The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, as well as the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre Company.
The journey continues with a new season of stories to share. For more information and subscriptions, visit www.inisnuatheatre.org.
Inis Nua’s mission is to produce contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales which reflect those cultures’ new identities in today’s world. Inis Nua also seeks to cultivate and produce contemporary, provocative work from American playwrights who deal with the Irish-American, Welsh-American, Scottish-American and Anglo-American experiences.
To date, Inis Nua has produced one world premiere, seventeen American premieres and thirteen Philadelphia premieres. Inis Nua Theatre Company has been the recipient of grants from the William Penn Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Independence Foundation, the Samuel S Fels Fund, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Virginia Brown Martin Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation. Inis Nua Theatre has also had eight playwrights visit during production of their shows.