Touchstone Hosts 2018-19 Apprentice Showcase FRESH VOICES

The Fresh Voices showcase of original works returns to the Touchstone Theatre stage on June 7 and 8, 2019. The annual event is a celebration of new theatre, featuring original works-in-progress by Alyssa Lou Ann Allen, Touchstone's 2018-19 apprentice.

Touchstone's Apprenticeship Program annually selects emerging and transitioning artists to study within the company and learn about life in a professional ensemble theatre. Their work touches every aspect of the company and includes acting, stage management, playwriting, teaching, prop making, and more. Over the past twenty years, Touchstone has graduated over 70 theatre artists from its program with more than a decade of Fresh Voices productions produced. Past apprentices have gone on to start their own theatre companies, continued their work as playwrights, designers, actors, teaching artists, and contributed to the field of original theatre at large locally and abroad.

"Fresh Voices is a seasonal mainstay that we always look forward to," says Emma Ackerman, Touchstone Ensemble Member and apprentice coordinator. "As a long-term collaborative body, the Touchstone ensemble is always grateful for the new ideas and new energy that our apprentices bring in; and every year, we look forward to seeing what they bring to the stage for a night of their own original theatre."

This year's Fresh Voices takes the form of an audience participatory fairy tale, entitled "Seph and the Butterfly King." A chapter from an original story that Allen has been brainstorming as a children's book or a comic for several years, the piece uses peculiar puppets, quirky costumes, and colorful set pieces to show the journey of the titular Seph as she travels from her mundane hometown to a world of magic and wonder. "I wanted to write the hero's journey about a brave girl who faces criticism and danger, and returns with self-knowledge and magic. The Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, and Alice in Wonderland were all important to me as a kid. Seph comes out of those influences, with a female voice and a love for whimsy, puppets, martial arts, and video game music."

Allen is an Easton local, already a familiar face in the Lehigh Valley music scene before coming to Touchstone as an apprentice. For Fresh Voices, she is joined in the rehearsal process and onstage by local performer Remy Kayal (Touchstone apprentice class 2014-15), who is also helping to create the set design.

Touchstone's season is sponsored locally by season sponsor RCN. WDIY provides media sponsorship and Working Dog Press provides print sponsorship.

Fresh Voices runs June 7 and 8, 2019, 8:00 pm at Touchstone Theatre. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Will at the door, with a suggested donation of $10, or can be purchased in advance for $10, available at (610) 867-1689 or www.touchstone.org



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