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Native Voices at the Autry Presents 23rd Festival of New Plays


Native Voices at the Autry Presents 23rd Festival of New Plays

Native Voices at the Autry, America's leading Native American theatre company, presents its 23rd Annual Festival of New Plays at the Autry Museum of the American West and La Jolla Playhouse. The festival features staged readings of new and in-progress plays by Native writers followed by talkbacks in which each audience member becomes an important part of the collaborative process. These new works explore questions of solidarity and community, spirituality and culture, environment and economic success, and the often contentious relationships that emerge.

"New play development is such a rewarding endeavor," said Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices Producing Executive Director. "You get to work on new scripts with experienced directors, designers, dramaturgs, and cast members who are fully committed to showing the playwright what they've got on the page-and how it might look on the stage. At Native Voices, we get to share that work with both Autry and La Jolla Playhouse audiences, who are vital to the playwright's success by allowing them to hear how the language, structure, story, and themes are working. Along the way, the playwright works with their dramaturg to rewrite and revise their script, fine tuning it for future production."

A weeklong playwrights retreat that precedes Native Voices' highly respected festival brings together beginning, emerging, and established Native American Playwrights to shape their plays with nationally recognized directors, dramaturgs, and an Acting Company of exceptional Native American actors. Many works developed during this project have gone on to enjoy successful runs on Native Voices at the Autry's main stage and elsewhere, including Fairly Traceable (2017), They Don't Talk Back (2016), Off the Rails (2015), The Bird House (2012), and The Frybread Queen (2011).

The Festival of New Plays is free but reservations are recommended. For reservations and additional information, visit

About the Featured Readings and Authors

Bingo Hall by Dillon Chitto (Mississippi Choctaw, Laguna, and Isleta Pueblo)
A comedic, coming-of-age story in which three youths explore what it means to leave home on their Pueblo reservation.

Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dillon Chitto learned the importance of art, culture, religion, and traditions from his parents, grandparents, brother, and members of the community. In his playwriting he attempts to connect these ideas using storytelling techniques he's learned through his life. He is currently a graduate student in Chicago, Illinois.

Wednesday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. at the Autry
Saturday, May 20, 1:00 p.m. at La Jolla Playhouse Cornsoup by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora)
A "prodigal son" returns to his reservation with a new plan to build a bottled water plant and is met with opposition from his family and friends, including an old flame with a grudge.

Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora) is the co-founder of Chukalokoli Native Theater Ensemble and member of Public Theater's 2009 Emerging Writer's Group. Ramirez's work has also been seen at LAByrinth Theater Company, New Native Theatre, Amerinda, the Flea, Missoula Writer's Colony, and the Roundabout Theatre. Recent productions include: Glenburn 12 WP Summer Shorts at 59E59 Theaters and Standoff at Hwy #37 at Thunderbird Theatre. Published: Monologues for Actors of Color: Women 2016 (Routledge) and Monologues for Actors of Color: Men 2016 (Routledge).

Thursday, May 18, 4:00 p.m. at the Autry
Saturday, May 20, 4:00 p.m. at La Jolla Playhouse Lying with Badgers by Jason Grasl (Blackfeet)
Two brothers brawl over their father's legacy as a medicine man in the remote sacred land of the Blackfeet people, as treacherous weather, women, and an ominous oil deal loom.

Lying with Badgers is Jason Grasl's third full-length play. It was first workshopped by Native Voices in 2016. His first play, The Blame of Love, received a full production in 2008 and his second play, Emergency Management, was developed with Native Voices at the Autry as part of their 2012 First Look Series. As an actor, Grasl has performed with Native Voices since 2007. He recently performed in the world premiere of Fairly Traceable. He has performed at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, The Public Theatre, and La Jolla Playhouse. Stage credits include Cherokee, The Blame of Love, Trophies, Sliver of a Full Moon, and Tony n' Tina's Wedding.

Thursday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Autry
Sunday, May 21, 1:00 p.m. at La Jolla Playhouse

Native Voices Is Sponsored by

The Actors' Equity Foundation, Department of Cultural Affairs (City of Los Angeles), Edison International, HBH Fund, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, The Nissan Foundation, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, SoCal Gas, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo. Media Sponsor: First Nations Experience

About Native Voices at the Autry

Native Voices at the Autry is the only Equity theatre company devoted exclusively to developing and
producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights.
The theatre company is committed to putting Native narratives at the center of the American story in order to facilitate a more inclusive dialog on what it means to be American. Founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices became the resident theatre company at the Autry Museum of the American West in 1999. The company provides a supportive, collaborative setting for Native Theatre artists from across North America. In 2014 the company established the Native Voices Artists Ensemble to more fully support the extraordinary talents of its Native actors, writers, musicians, and directors. The Ensemble is devoted to developing new work in a collaborative process as well as supporting Native Voices' ongoing focus on the work of individual playwrights. Native Voices at the Autry is a member of Actors' Equity Association, LA Stage Alliance, and the Dramatists Guild, an associate member of the National New Play Network and is a Constituent Theatre of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre. Visit for more information.

About the Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry is a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs-including lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and music-and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry's collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States.

About La Jolla Playhouse

The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is internationally-renowned for creating some of the most exciting and adventurous work in American theatre, through its new play development initiatives, its innovative Without Walls series, artist residencies and commissions. Led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, and Mel Ferrer, and reborn in 1983 under the artistic leadership of Des McAnuff, La Jolla Playhouse has had 28 productions transfer to Broadway, garnering 35 Tony Awards, among them the currently-running Come From Away and Indecent, as well as Jersey Boys, Memphis, The Who's Tommy, Big River, as well as Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, both fostered as part of The Playhouse's Page To Stage Program. Visit

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