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Nora Theatre Company to Stage INTIMATE EXCHANGES at Central Square Theater

The Nora Theatre Company will present Alan Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges from January 12 - February 12, 2017. Intimate Exchanges is directed by Olivia D'Ambrosio. The press performance is Wednesday, January 18 at 7:30PM.

Two actors. Six characters. Four different courses of action. What will happen next? Master of form Alan Ayckbourn's (Absurd Person Singular) Intimate Exchanges follows marriages and love affairs in a London suburb. Meet Celia Teasdale, the wife of the drunKen Headmaster of the local school. And then, there's Sylvie Bell, to whom there is more than meets the eye. In the opening scene, Celia steps into her backyard and eyes a pack of cigarettes. Her choice leads to one of four possibilities. On alternating performances, you can follow either Celia or Sylvie in their path throughout the play. At intermission, place your vote on how you want the play to end. And, if you don't like the result, you've nobody to blame but yourself! Bonus: On Saturdays see both paths in the matinee and the evening!

Intimate Exchanges plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Thursday, January 12 to February 12, 2017. Tickets may be purchased by calling 617.576.9278 x1, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at CentralSquareTheater.org.

Alan Ayckbourn is one of the world's most popular and prolific professional playwrights. He has written - as of 2017 - 81 full length plays and more than 20 other revues and plays for children. He is also an acclaimed director, who Arthur Miller said directed the definitive version of his play A View From The Bridge. Alan was born in Hampstead, London, on 12 April, 1939. His mother was Irene Maud Worley - better known as the novelist Mary James - and his father Horace Ayckbourn, lead violinist with the London Symphony Orchestra. Educated at Haileybury, Alan left school at the age of 17 to pursue a career in the theatre immediately gaining a job with the theatre impresario Sir Donald Wolfit in 1956. He was with the company for three weeks as an acting stage manager for the production The Strong Are Lonely at the Edinburgh Festival. Alan went on to work as an actor and stage manager in Worthing, Leatherhead and Oxford, before being employed in 1957 as a stage manager and actor at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. The Library Theatre had been founded in 1955 by Stephen Joseph and was home to the UK's first professional theatre-in-the-round company, Studio Theatre Ltd. Alan was inspired by Stephen Joseph, who became a mentor and encouraged Alan to both write and direct. Alan's first professional writing commission was inadvertently inspired by his acting career when he complained about a role he was playing; Stephen threw down the gauntlet saying that if Alan wanted better roles, he should write one himself. Alan wrote The Square Cat. This was a success for the company in the summer of 1959 and Stephen immediately commissioned a second play, Love After All, for the winter of 1959. Alan continued to act and write for the Library Theatre until 1962 when he was involved in the formation of the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, with Stephen Joseph and Peter Cheeseman. This was the country's first permanent professional theatre in-the-round and Alan premiered two plays there, Christmas V Mastermind and Mr Whatnot. The latter was produced in London in 1964 and received such a critical mauling that Alan retreated to the BBC in Leeds as a radio drama producer where he worked between 1965 and 1970. Alan continued writing, though, and produced Meet My Father for the Library Theatre in 1965. This would be a turning point in his life. In 1967, the play - retitled Relatively Speaking - opened in the West End and was a phenomenal hit. It launched him into the public eye and in quick succession, plays such as How The Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular and The Norman Conquests, established Alan Ayckbourn as one of the country's most popular and successful playwrights. As of 2017, he has written 81 full length plays - the 81st will premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this summer - more than half of which have transferred to either the West End or the National Theatre. At one point in 1975, he held the record for having the most professional productions being performed simultaneously in the West End (The Norman Conquests, Absurd Person Singular and Absent Friends). His work has been translated into more than 35 languages and his plays are regularly performed throughout the world. Stephen Joseph died in 1967 and Alan, alongside Ken Boden, Alfred Bradley and Rodney Wood, worked together to keep the Library Theatre alive. Although Alan was closely involved with the theatre during this period, both writing, directing and choosing plays for the company, he would not formally become Artistic Director until 1972. Apart from a two year hiatus between 1986 and 1988 when he became a company director at the National Theatre, he remained Artistic Director until retiring from that role on 31 March 2009. Concurrent to this, Alan's directing career also flourished. He directed his first play in 1961, Gaslight, at the Library Theatre and in 1963 directed the world premiere of one of his own plays for the first time. Since 1967 he has directed the world premieres of all his plays and since 1977, he has directed all the West End premieres of his plays bar one. Since 1961, Alan has directed more than 300 productions and is considered one of the world's pre-eminent directors of in-the-round staging. He is hugely committed to theatre-in-the-round, for which he has written the majority of his plays. It is always worth remembering that when he stages a play in London or they are performed in the proscenium arch, it is a step away from the author's original intention. It has frequently been stated that the definitive production of an Alan Ayckbourn play is the premiere production in-the-round in Scarborough, where he has premiered all but four of his plays. Although he has avoided film, he is very proud of his association with the late French film director Alain Resnais, who directed three acclaimed and award-winning film adaptations of his work. Alan Ayckbourn has received more than 35 awards and honours including two Oliviers, a Tony, two Molieres and Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Variety Club of Great Britain and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. He was the 1992 Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University and is also the recipient of a Montblanc de la Culture Award for Europe for 'establishing a thriving theatrical tradition in Scarborough and for his dedication and commitment to it'. In 2009, he was inducted into American Theater's Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Society's Special Award at the Laurence Olivier Awards. The holder of a number of honorary degrees, he was appointed a CBE in 1987 and in 1997 was knighted for 'services to the theatre'. In 2010, he received the prestigious Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. His plays have been regularly staged in America and more than 10 have been produced on Broadway and Off-Broadway. In 1975 he held the record for having the most plays simultaneously running on Broadway (The Norman Conquests and Absurd Person Singular). However, he would probably consider his greatest success in the States came in 2005, when he took his Scarborough company to the 59E59 Theaters' Brits Off Broadway festival to present Private Fears In Public Places. The month-long run was an unprecedented success receiving great acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The New York Times proclaimed it "altogether wonderful" and the cast "flawless". In 2007, his production of Intimate Exchanges also toured to the Festival where it broke box office records at 59E59 Theaters and received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Play. Since then he has also toured My Wonderful Day in 2009, which also received a Drama Desk Outstanding Play award nomination, Neighbourhood Watch in 2011, Arrivals & Departures, Time Of My Life and Farcicals in 2014 and Hero's Welcome and Confusions in 2016 to the festival. In February 2006, Alan suffered a stroke leading to the announcement in June 2007 that he would step down as the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. He would officially step down in 2009 but continues to be premiere his new work and direct revivals of his plays at the venue.

Olivia D'Ambrosio (Director) is a Boston-based Playmaker, or versatile theatre professional who works as a director, actor, producer and teaching artist. She is honored to direct Intimate Exchanges after serving as Director of Voice, Speech & Text on last season's Arcadia. Special thanks to Lee for both opportunities. A member of Actors' Equity, Olivia's performance credits include: The Nora Theatre Company (two-week extension, Arcadia), Bridge Repertory Theater, New Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Trinity Rep, Asolo Rep, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Hartford Stage. She founded and is the Producing Artistic Director of Bridge Repertory Theater, currently in its fourth season. Under her leadership, Bridge Rep has: produced thirteen fully realized mainstage productions, creating nearly 300 paid work opportunities and serving close to 10,000 audience members; multiplied its operating budget by a factor of 10; received more than 20 nominations from the Independent Reviewers of New England and Boston Theater Critics Association, including an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script; and enjoyed consistent media coverage on outlets including WGBH and The Boston Globe. Olivia teaches Voice & Speech in the MFA Musical Theatre program at the newly merged Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and in the Department of Theatre Arts at MIT. She holds an MFA in Acting from Brown University / Trinity Rep, and a BA in Theatre & Dance from Amherst College (summa cum laude). She is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Theater Community Benevolent Fund (tcbf.org). Finally, Olivia intends to run for the City Council of Cambridge, where her primary focus will be on advocacy for the arts. OliviaDAmbrosio.com | @_playmaker___

About the Cast & Creative Team:

Sarah Elizabeth Bedard (Female) is thrilled to be making her Nora Theatre Company debut. New York credits include One Year Lease Theatre Company, Classics on the Rocks and Mettawee River Theatre. New England credits include SpeakEasy Stage Company (Significant Other); Gloucester Stage Company (Measure of Normalcy); Company One (Shockheaded Peter); Actors' Shakespeare Project (Phedre); Berkshire Theatre Festival (A Christmas Carol), Shakespeare & Company (DibbleDance), Boston Public Works (Three) and Bad Habit Productions (Arcadia, Translations). Sarah directs at the young company at Stoneham Theatre and works with the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild as a fight choreographer and theatre educator. She earned an M.F.A. in Acting from Brandeis University. SarahElizabethBedard.com

Jade Ziane* (Male) This is Jade's first time performing in a piece of regional theatre outside of New York. He could not be more grateful to Liv, Lee, and the rest of the Intimate Exchanges team for the opportunity to take on this whopper of a play. Previous Off Broadway credits include: Mint in Tennessee Williams 1982 at Soho Rep; Piero in Big Love at Michael Schimmel Center; Ali in Queens Blvd. at Theatre Row. Huge shout out to his amazing family and friends who support him in all his endeavors.

The production team includes Anne Sherer (Scenic Designer), John R. Malinowski (Lighting Designer), Chelsea Kerl (Costume Designer), Nathan Leigh (Sound Design & Original Music), Esme Allen (Properties Master), Adele Nadine Traub is the Stage Manager and JorDan Clark is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Intimate Exchanges plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Thursday, January 12 to February 12, 2017. Tickets may be purchased by calling 617.576.9278 x1, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at CentralSquareTheater.org.

Central Square Theater (CST) opened in 2008 through a groundbreaking partnership between The Nora Theatre Company (The Nora) and Underground Railway Theater (URT). This collaboration has been called a model for the arts community (The Boston Foundation, Culture is our Commonwealth, and The National Collaboration Prize), as it has paired two like-minded performing arts organizations in a strategic alliance with the City of Cambridge and MIT, resulting in the development of a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the heart of Central Square. CST has a mission to support its two theaters-in-residence while maintaining a shared vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to their communities. The Nora and URT have a combined track record of over 50 years producing award-winning theater. Located in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and steeped in its multiracial, intergenerational, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, the CST theater experience exudes a democratic energy where classes, races and age groups come together to be inspired, entertained and energized.

Central Square Theater is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating. For further information, call 617.576.9278 or visit CentralSquareTheater.org.



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