Sauk To Present Readings Of AACTNewPlaysFest Winner ON PINE KNOLL STREET

Sauk To Present Readings Of AACTNewPlaysFest Winner ON PINE KNOLL STREET

The Sauk, Hillsdale County's community theatre, was recently selected as one of six community theatres in the country to be a producing theatre for the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) NewPlayFest in 2020. A week-long workshop of the play selected for The Sauk, ON PINE KNOLL STREET by Mark Cornell, will be held at the end of this month culminating in two public staged readings of the play.

Each summer, The Sauk hosts a "Plays-in-Development" program which brings directors, actors and playwrights together for a week-long workshop of unpublished, unproduced plays. The week ends with staged-readings where the audience receives an opportunity to respond to the plays. Playwrights leave the process with feedback from directors, actors and audience. A nationwide search is held each year. In 2018, The Sauk received approximately 400 scripts for consideration. Because of the generosity of sponsors in the community, playwrights are flown to Jonesville to participate in the workshops. Each year, at least one local playwright is featured as well.

"This idea started when two of our volunteers had scripts that they wanted to receive feedback on," said Sauk Executive Director Trinity Bird. "We decided to do a staged reading of the two plays. The program has just grown and grown from there."

This summer, Plays-in-Development will focus exclusively on "On Pine Knoll Street," the play they will produce in February 2020 as part of NewPlayFest. The playwright as well as Kathy Pingel, a dramaturg provided by AACT, will be on-site in Jonesville for four days working on the piece. Public readings will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29 at The Sauk Theatre, 240 E. Chicago in Jonesville. The readings are free to the public. After each reading, a talkback will be held giving the audience an opportunity to comment on and ask questions about the play. Donations will be taken at the door. More information is available at

"We would love to have our patrons come to the readings and be a part of the discussion as we work to make 'On Pine Knoll Street' the best script possible," said Bird who will also direct the production. "We want Mark to leave Jonesville having a positive experience that includes constructive criticism from theatre lovers locally and all over our state."

AACT NewPlayFest 2020 is made possible in part by a grant from the Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation. Producing Theatres receive funding from the Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation to bring the playwright to the theatre for a work-shopping session and to attend the opening night, and to assist the theatre with production and marketing costs.

About the Play:

Thelma is a colorful and quick-witted 87-year old woman struggling with her memory. Her devoted daughter Marilyn, with whom she now lives, is trying to make the best of the situation. When Marilyn asks her neighbor Curtis, a struggling writer and stay-at-home father of a special needs child, to care for her mother and her beloved cats while she is at the beach, it sets in motion a friendship that tethers two families. Funny and heartbreaking, ON PINE KNOLL STREET is an intimate look at the joy and fragility of life, the meaning of home, and the things we do for love.

The cast of the play includes Anne Conners (of Jackson) as Thelma, MJ Dulmage (of Hillsdale) as Marilyn, Bird (of Quincy) as Curtis, Andrea Ortell (of Jackson) as Kristie and Keegan Oxley (of Litchfield) as Mitchell. Allison Cleveland will serve as stage manager.

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