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Rising Circle Theater Collective to Present Four New Works as Part 7th Annual PlayRISE Festival

Four talented emerging playwrights of color - members of the 2016 INKtank Playwrights Lab - will unveil their exciting new works when Rising Circle Theater Collective presents its 7th annual PlayRISE Festival, a series of staged readings featuring some of New York City's most exciting theatre artists of color. The festival will run from June 16-19 at The Sheen Center (18 Bleecker Street in Manhattan).

PlayRISE launches with Liz Morgan's The Clark Doll, directed by Nicole A. Watson, on Thursday June 16th at 7:30PM.

"Three black women find themselves confined to a space; the kind that doesn't allow visitors. It isn't the first time but hopefully, it will be the last. Natasha wants to escape for good; Judi wants to sleep; and Sophia just doesn't want to end up left alone. Meanwhile, this trio of 'sistas' will do what they can to survive their circumstances and each other."

The cast of The Clark Doll includes Jenna Bosco, Crystin Gilmore, Chelsea Harrison, and Whitney White.

The following night, Friday June 17th at 7:30PM, Cynthia G. Robinson's When Night Falls will be directed by Estefanía Fadul.

"A young Sudanese woman meets an African American doctor who brings her to the United States. Bonded by grief and personal loss, these women struggle to heal, find peace, and the courage to love again."

The cast of When Night Falls includes Richarda Abrams, Afia Abusham, Reginald L. Barnes, Evander Duck Jr., Ty King, Melissa Mickens, and Beethovan Oden.

Saturday June 18th at 7:30PM, Oscar Aaron Lee Cabrera will present his new play, Through Andrew's Eyes, directed by Edward Torres.

"Andrew is a 22 year old boy diagnosed with Autism and Diabetes. The Person he would have become lives inside him, wanting to be heard. Meanwhile, Andrew's family struggles to move forward, feeling limited and trapped by Andrew's condition. When Andrew's brother returns from college for the holidays, Person begins speak his mind, but can Andrew be truly understood? Heartwarming and poignant, Through Andrew's Eyes is a story about how people transcend their differences to find common ground, love, and a shared sense of humanity."

The cast of Through Andrew's Eyes includes David Anzuelo, Txai Frota, Jacqueline Guillen, Lorenzo Gutierrez, Benjamin Manno, and Mariana Newhard.

The festival will culminate on Sunday, June 19th at 7:30PM with Purvi Shah's Light as a Mountain, directed by Saheem Ali.

"What goes on behind all those windows of New York City? As everyone is busy being busy, Light as a Mountain opens the windows on two immigrant families in Queens and the finance world of Manhattan. With humor, heart, and magical birds, Light as a Mountain explores our aging parents, colonialisms of work, sanctity of homes, and the power of human connection."

The cast includes Susham Bedi, Melissa Joyner, Mahira Kakkar, Reza Salazar, Adriana Sananes, and Merlixse Ventura.

PlayRISE will take place at The Sheen Center at 18 Bleecker Street.

Doors open at 7:00PM. Admission is free but tickets must be reserved through Eventbrite (

Founded in 2000, Rod Bowen and Deepa Purohit, created Rising Circle Theater Collective to address the lack of stories and roles on stage that represent the diverse cultural communities in New York City. Now in its 16th year, Rising Circle Theater Collective is a nexus for artists of color, empowering them to conceive, develop, and produce original work. Rising Circle is dedicated to broadening the scope of storytelling on the American stage by placing the stories of people of color first. The company's members include Kareem Fahmy (director | playwright); Monet Hurst-Mendoza (playwright | director); Nancy Kim (actor | producer); Melissa Mickens (actor | producer); and Pirronne Yousefzadeh (director | educator). For more information, visit

OSCAR AARON LEE CABRERA is a Texas born-and-bred actor/playwright. He has developed characters over the past five years for Rattlestick Theater, Theater Masters, Rising Circle, NYU, INTAR, the LARK, the Kennedy Center, the LATC, the Amoralists, New York Theater Workshop and others. He has wrote and submitted work for the Black and Latino Playwrights Festival, Hudson Warehouse WAGG, and the One Minute Play Festival.

LIZ MORGAN received her MFA from Brown/Trinity Rep where she was the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. Her play The Clark Doll has had previous developmental workshops at Rites and Reason Theatre, POTPOURRI World Women's Work Series and Manhattan Rep, where Liz also produced her satirical play, A Matter of Taste (previously published as a finalist in the Long Island City One Act Festival). Her play Breaking & Entering is currently in development with Amios Theatre Company.

CYNTHIA G. ROBINSON is a playwright, educator, and producer. Her plays include Dancing on Eggshells (Billie Holiday Theatre); Peola's Passing (Samuel French OOB Festival; New Perspectives Theatre); Gold Star Mother (EstroGenius Festival); Ascension (National Black Theatre Festival; FringeNYC); Thunder: A Musical Memoir (FringeNYC). Honors include AUDELCO Award Nominee; Samuel French OOB Finalist; Black and Latino Playwrights Conference Finalist; Calvin B. Grimes Scholar-in-Residence; Tribeca All-Access Open Stage; Best New Play IRNE nomination; Thomas Barbour Memorial Playwright's Award Finalist. Publication in Indie Theater Now; Book of Estrogenius. Member of League of Professional Theatre Women, Dramatists Guild of America, and Co-moderator of The Fire This Time Festival Inaugural Writers' Group.

Known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter, PURVI SHAH inspires change as a non-profit consultant, anti-violence advocate, and writer. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices. She won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. You can discover her creative work in her award-winning book of poetry Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press: 2006), and poetry chaplet Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise (Belladonna*: 2015), or at and @PurviPoets. Through transformative listening and creative advocacy rooted in storytelling, dialogue, and community action, she seeks to further movement-building and community-based social change while showing that art is an essential part of our sacred space.

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