Native Voices at the Autry to Present 18th Festival of New Plays

Native Voices at the Autry, America's leading Native American theatre company, presents its 18th 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 audience talkbacks in which each viewer becomes an important part of the collaborative process.

"This is the most exciting event in our development season," said Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices Producing Executive Director. "The playwrights workshop their scripts with a dedicated cast while in residence at the Autry. They hear their plays read and discussed for three different audiences: the first day for the full company (actors, directors, producers, dramaturges and designers), a week later for a public audience at the Autry, and two days after that for a public audience at the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse. The separate readings, meetings with designers, and daily workshops help the playwright to revise or rewrite as needed based on what they learn. Public readings are an invaluable tool, allowing the playwright to evaluate how the language, structure, story and themes are being heard. This is why the audience is so vital to the playwright's process and is such an important part of what we do at Native Voices."

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, dramaturges, 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 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
Bears and Black Sheep by Jason Grasl (Blackfeet)
A Blackfeet man faces his troubled relationship with his late father and his culture when he returns to his estranged family's remote mountain home.

Bears and Black Sheep is Grasl's third full-length play. His first, The Blame of Love, was produced by Clever Title Productions in L.A., and his second, Emergency Management, was developed through Native Voices at the Autry's First Look Series. As an actor, Grasl has performed with Native Voices for nearly a decade and is on the Native Voices Artists Ensemble Leadership Council. Stage credits include Cherokee at Woolly Mammoth, The Blame of Love, Trophies, Sliver of a Full Moon, and Tony 'n Tina's Wedding. Highly sought after as a collaborator in new play development, he has acted and directed new plays at Native Voices, The Public Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Meadowbrook Theatre and the Purple Rose Theatre. He is a member of the Native American comedy troupe The Mayflower Welcoming Committee.

Saturday, June 4, 1:00 p.m. at the Autry
Thursday, June 9, 7:00 p.m. at La Jolla Playhouse And So We Walked by DeLanna Studi (Cherokee)
Accompanied by her father, a Cherokee artist-activist retraces her ancestors' footsteps along the Trail of Tears.

Studi is known for her work as an actor in the films Edge of America, The Only Good Indian, and Blessed. Solo stage credits include What's An Indian Woman To Do? and Kick (over 400 performances), which both garnered rave reviews. She was in the national tour of August Osage County and performed Off-Broadway in the New York Times Critic's Pick Informed Consent, which described her performance as "moving gravity." Studi spent two seasons in the actors company of the acclaimed Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was a member of its Boar's Head committee responsible for choosing the following season's productions. Her first attempt at screenwriting earned her the Creative Spirit Award for Best Short. She has written blogs, essays, and countless oratories. She is the Chair of the President's National Task Force for American Indians of the Screen Actors Guild.

Saturday, June 4, 4:00 p.m. at the Autry
Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 p.m. at La Jolla Playhouse Fairly Traceable by Mary Kathryn Nagle (Cherokee)
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a young Ponca man pursues environmental law to expose the disastrous effects of man-made climate change.

Nagle is a Partner at Pipestem Law Firm P.C., as well as a nationally acclaimed playwright. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Nagle was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She studied theater at Georgetown University and went on to study law at Tulane Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and was the recipient of the Judge John Minor Wisdom Award. Her plays include Manahatta, Sliver of a Full Moon, Katrina Stories, Welcome to Chalmette, Diamonds ... Are a Boy's Best Friend, Fairly Traceable, My Father's Bones (co-authored with Suzan Shown Harjo), To the 7th Degree, Miss Lead, In My Father's Eyes, and Waaxe's Law. Her law review articles have been published in five different journals, including the Tulane Law Review and Tulsa Law Review.

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