This past year, three new faculty members joined the University of Louisville Department of Theatre Arts: Jenn Ariadne Calvano, who teaches acting and movement, Janna Segal, who teaches dramaturgy and theatre history and Rachel Hillmer, who teaches acting and voice. 

The fact that they all happen to be women ended up shaping the 2017-18 season.

Nefertiti Burton

“When we were selecting plays for the season, we noticed there were an abundance proposed that were written by women,” said Nefertiti Burton, department chair. “We thought, why not make it a theme and commit to it.”

So, the season became five plays, written by women.

“It’s a way for us to celebrate the new energy in our department,” Burton said.

The selections cover a wide range of experiences, perspectives and theatrical forms. 

“We’re inviting people to come and see themselves on stage, as the many, diverse women filling these roles,” Burton said.

  • The season kicks off with the African American Theatre Program’s rendition of “Miss Ida B. Wells,” Sept. 22-Oct. 1. The two-woman play, written by Endesha Ida Mae Holland and directed by Burton, powerfully depicts the life of Wells, a civil rights activist and journalist who led the fight against lynching at the turn of the century.
  • UofL’s Repertory Company, a troupe of graduate students who perform for dozens of elementary schools each year, will do a free public performance Sept. 24 of “Magic Tree,” a play written by Burton and directed by Melissa Shepherd.
  • “Our Country’s Good,” Nov. 10-Nov. 19, written by Timberlake Wertenbaker and directed by Baron Kelly, is based on the true life story of a group of convicts who’ve been deported to the colony of Australia. They found themselves required to act in a production of George Farquhar’s comedy “The Recruiting Officer,” which was staged in the penal colony of New South Wales in 1789.
  • In “Eurydice,” Jan. 26-Feb. 4, playwright Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Jenn Ariadne Calvano directs.
  • “Fabulation: or the Re-Education of Undine,” Feb. 23-March 4, from the African American Theatre Program, tells the story of a businesswoman whose life spirals out of control after her husband steals her money and leaves her. It was written by Lynn Nottage, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice.
  • The season wraps up with “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” April 13-April 22, in which the past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Geoff Nelson and Charles Nasby co-direct the play by Paula Vogel, who is also a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

All plays are at Thrust Theatre, 2314 South Floyd St., except for “Our Country’s Good” and “Fabulation: or the Re-Education of Undine,” which will run at The Playhouse, 1911 South Third St. All plays start at 8 p.m. with 3 p.m. Saturday or Sunday matinees.

To order tickets or for more information, call 502-852-6814 or click here.