HAMPTON, Va. (February 8, 2019) – The Hampton Players & Company is proud to once again present an innovative and exciting initiative for budding playwrights this semester. “The New Voices: New Plays” Series provides an opportunity for new playwrights in the Hampton Roads area to see their work produced as a staged reading for a live audience. This year, the playwrights are all successful Hampton University alumni who have continued their interest in crafting plays for the stage. “New Voices, New Plays” takes place Friday, February 15, 2019 and Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8:00 p.m., with a Sunday matinee on February 17, 2019 at 3:00 p.m., in the Little Theatre of Armstrong Hall on the campus of Hampton University.
The series allows young playwrights to obtain feedback from the audience members and faculty of the Hampton University Department of Fine and Performing Arts. These critiques will enable the playwrights to revise their works, based on sound advice from theatre professionals and potential audience members.
This year’s offerings include “Mourning Glory” by Tash Hawthorne. This drama is set on a plantation in the south during the Civil War where an unscrupulous master has fiendish plans for his slaves.
Tash Hawthorne, an Orange, New Jersey native and 2016 Hampton University graduate, has always believed that no writer should be limited to one facet of the art of scribe. To her literary audiences, she is known for her critically-acclaimed contemporary novels, “Karma: With a Vengeance,” “For The Love of Money”and “Beast of Burden;”the former for which she won Black Pearl Magazine’s ‘Best New Author’ award. To her theater audiences, she is known for her stage plays, “Mourning Glory,” “Out of Sight Out of Mind,” “Remember My Mother,” “Souls Gone Home” and “Syncopation.”
Throughout her career, she has had the pleasure of working alongside legendary artists such as NAACP and AUDELCO award-winning actress, Marie Thomas-Foster; the late Negro Ensemble Company artistic director and alum, Charles Weldon; and the late Tony-nominated playwright, Leslie Lee. Hawthorne formerly served as a Production Assistant at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; the Assistant Project Director at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York City and acted as a Mentor and Advisor for the New Jersey-based program Female Achievers, Incorporated, an organizations where she was able to counsel and empower female youth through self/cultural exploration and public service.
Hawthorne currently acts as the Playwright-In-Residence at the Marie Thomas-Foster Children’s Theatre Workshop in Newark, NJ and serves as the Dramatic Arts Director at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, NJ.
“The Pharmacy” by Candice Walters is the second play of the set. The ups and downs of running a family-owned pharmacy will delight the audience with its insight into local characters we all know and love. The character’s lives outside the pharmacy provide as much entertainment as the day to day work drama we have all experienced, with sometimes hilarious, and sometimes poignant results.
Candice Renee Walters is a San Francisco Bay Area native. She graduated from Hampton University in 2009 with a B.S. in Business Management and a Theatre minor. While at Hampton, her ten-minute play, “Here’s One to You,” was presented as part of their annual Night of Scenes. She went on to get her M.A. in Theatre Studies from Regent University and later completed a fellowship at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre. Walters currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her husband (and fellow Hampton Player), Jeff, and their newborn daughter, Jael. She works full-time in sales at Center Theatre Group, writing in her spare time. “The Pharmacy” is Walter’s first full-length play. She is currently writing a short film.
Dr. Robin Jackson Boisseau serves as director of “New Plays, New Voices.” She has served as an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hampton University since 2001. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from Memphis State University and her Ph.D. in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has directed shows such as “The Chalk Garden,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” “Pirates of Penzance,” and “Trifles” at other venues, as well as “The Disappearance,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Macbeth,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” “Dearly Departed,” “The Lion in Winter,” “How I Learned to Drive,” “Crowns”(co-directed with Dr. Karen Turner Ward), “Romeo & Juliet,” “Through the Crack,” “New Voices, New Plays,” “Stick Fly,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Day of Absence,” “Happy Ending,” “Common Thread,” “Blythe Spirit,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “Flyin’ West” at Hampton University.
C. Perry Otto is the scenic and light designer for “New Plays, New Voices.” This is his twenty-fifth season with the Hampton Players. He has designed sets and lights for numerous Players’ production including: “Flyin’ West,” “Mistletoe Jam,” “Much Ado About Nothing," "Blythe” “Spirit,” “Day of Absence,” “Happy Ending,” “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” “Lion King, Jr.,” “Annie Jr.,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Stick Fly,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “Ruined,” “Doubt,” “The Lion in Winter,” “A Love To Call My Own,” “Dearly Departed,” “The Bluest Eye,” “A Love To Call My Own,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Macbeth,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Grease,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “West Side Story,” “The Wiz,” “What Use Are Flowers?,” “Shakin’,” “The Mess Outta Misery,” “The Disappearance,” “Sasha and the Magic Cookie Maker,” “Tartuffe,” “Mama Dee’s Girls,” “Shakuntala,” “Dracula,” “Black Pearls,” “The Amen Corner,” “Steal Away,” “The Piano Lesson,” “The Emperor Jones,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “40 Acres and A Mule” (World Premiere), “Once On This Island,” “One Mo’ Time,” and “Equus.”
Corinne Langford is the costume designer for “New Plays, New Voices.” This is her second season with the Hampton Players. She has designed costume and make-up for the University of Memphis’s production of “Oklahoma!,” as well as Tennessee Shakespeare’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.” With the Hampton Players she has designed costume and make-up for “Day of Absence,” “Happy Ending,” “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” “Lion King, Jr.,” “Common Thread,” “Annie, Jr.,” “Blythe Spirit,” “Black Nativity,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Flyin’ West,” and “Mistletoe Jam.”
The cast includes Hampton University students and alums Arleena Allen, Aalyiah Arnold, Nesiah Banks, Ellie Boisseau, Eden Duncan-Smith, Tariq Cannady, Jonathan Chidebelu-Eze, Alexandria King, Lauryn Moore, Khaalid Muhammad, Michael Payne, Kobie Polk, and Sana Rashid.
The Hampton Players and Company is a professionally run performing ensemble. The performers are not limited to the University stage, but have appeared on stages throughout the United States.
The Hampton Players’ box office is located in the center of the first floor of the Armstrong Hall building and is open Monday – Friday, from 2pm until 7pm and Saturday, from 1pm until 5pm.
For ticket information, call the Box Office at 727-5236 or 727-5402. Admission for this show is free.