Sex Trafficking In Los Angeles Examined In Tira Palmquist's Riveting New Play SAFE HARBOR

By: Jan. 07, 2019
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Sex Trafficking In Los Angeles Examined In Tira Palmquist's Riveting New Play SAFE HARBOR

Launching Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble's new 'Cycle of Violence' commission series, Tira Palmquist's Safe Harbor will be presented as a reading at the Greenway Court Theatre on Saturday, January 19, 2019, directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks.

Over a 12-month timeline Palmquist has tackled Sex Trafficking in Los Angeles, exploring the perspective of victims, perpetrators, victim advocates, and law enforcement in an attempt to bring awareness, understanding, and activism to the topic. Lower Depth has provided a week-long professional workshop, along with internal readings and administrative support throughout the process that has culminated in this final reading presentation, open to the public.

Safe Harbor is the first of a planned four-part commission series by Lower Depth, entitled 'The Cycle of Violence'. Remaining topics include Honor Killing, Convict Reintegration and Black Moms and their Sons with commissioned playwrights still yet to be announced.

Safe Harbor will feature actors Veralyn Jones, JJ Hawkins, Jason Delane Lee, Yvonne Huff Lee, Yumarie Morales, Kacie Rogers, and Sean Spann. Additional dramaturgy support will be provided by Dylan Southard.

TIRA PALMQUIST's plays include Overburden, Two Degrees (Denver Center), Ten Mile Lake (Serenbe Playhouse), Age of Bees (MadLab Theater, Tesseract), And Then They Fell (Brimmer Street, New York Film Academy), and others.

Two Degrees has been featured in numerous festivals (including the 11th Annual Denver Center New Play Summit, the New American Voices festival in the UK, the Caltech 2014 Mach 33 Festival and the 2014 Great Plains Theater Conference) and had its World Premiere in the Denver Center's 2016/17 Season. Two Degrees was also listed in the Honorable Mention list for the 2016 Kilroys.

And Then They Fell was workshopped by Brimmer Street (Los Angeles, 2015) and the UMass New Play Lab (2014), and premiered at Brimmer Street in Los Angeles in September 2016, with upcoming productions in both Minneapolis and Columbus, OH. Ten Mile Lake, which premiered in 2014 at Serenbe Playhouse just outside of Atlanta, GA, was developed and workshopped in 2012 at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and was a finalist for the 2015 Primus Prize.

Age of Bees premiered at MadLab Theater in 2012 (and was named Best Original Work by the Other Papers "Best of 2012" list), and was subsequently produced in 2015 at the Tesseract Theater in St. Louis. Age of Bees is now available through Original Works Publishing.

Her work has been developed by Seven Devils, Inkwell, 9Thirty Theater, The Road Theater, EST-LA and the Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings program. Tira teaches creative writing at the Orange County School of the Arts. She is a member of the Playwrights Union, the Anteaus Theater's Playrights Lab and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her work as a director and dramaturg includes several seasons at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and the New Territories Playwriting Residency, a program she developed with Brian Clowdus at Serenbe Playhouse in Georgia.

Anita Dashiell-SPARKS is an associate professor of theatre practice at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. She is a graduate of the prestigious New York University, Tisch School of the Arts' graduate acting program. She is a Maryland distinguished scholar who pursued undergraduate work at the University of Maryland at College Park, earning a degree in theatre. As an actor based in New York and Los Angeles, she has graced the stage on Broadway in Night Must Fall, starring Matthew Broderick, and The Sunshine Boys, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. She has also appeared in numerous off-Broadway and regional theatre productions, including House of Bernada Alba with Chita Rivera at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, as well as directed Letters From Zora at The Pasadena Playhouse. Her recent television appearances include 'Huff', 'Friends', 'The West Wing', 'The Division' and the Hallmark film 'McBride: The Doctor Is Out'.

In support of her community service as a performing artist, she was awarded a 1998-1999 Fox Foundation Grant to mount a tour of her solo performance piece entitled Resurrection for youth and community organizations in New York City. Dashiell-Sparks is the founder and director of Building Bridges: Communication, Expression, Empowerment Theatre Arts Program, which teaches self-presentation and self-expression to at-risk youth. Her program is supported by a University Neighborhood Outreach Grant at USC.

LOWER DEPTH's mission is to explore the diverse experiences of the African diaspora and beyond. As an ensemble of theatre artists, we strive to awaken and enliven the community with transformative programming that celebrates authentic human stories told through the lens of the artist of color. Our vision is to transform perspectives, overcome obstacles for understanding, and create space for a new cultural narrative to unfold.

Gregg T. Daniel, Artistic Director. Veralyn Jones, Jason Delane Lee, Yvonne Huff Lee, Founders/Artistic Associates. Courtney Oliphant, Managing Director. Doug Oliphant, Program Director.

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