Take Back the Night Founder Set for STET Talkback at Abingdon Theatre Company

Take Back the Night Founder Set for STET Talkback at Abingdon Theatre CompanyAbingdon Theatre Company, in association with The Muse Project, announces talkbacks following the performances of STET on Sunday, June 26 at 2pm; Tuesday, June 28 at 7pm; and Thursday, June 30 at 7pm. Written by Kim Davies and developed by Kim Davies, Jocelyn Kuritsky and Tony Speciale, STET is a new play inspired by the Rolling Stone article "A Rape on Campus." Artistic Director Tony Speciale directs the world premiere, marking his first programming as Artistic Director.

Katie Koestner, founder of Take Back the Night, will participate in a post-show discussion following the 2pm matinee on Sunday, June 26. Take Back the Night is a non-profit organization that serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives. Take Back the Night seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. A portion of all full-priced tickets sold throughout the run of STET will be donated to Take Back the Night.

Katie Koestner is the first survivor of campus date rape to speak out nationally and publicly about her story. At age 18,she appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine. She is the subject of an HBO movie and has lectured at over 5000 schools, universities, military bases, and corporations worldwide. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, CNN, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, and other national programs. Her audiences have included the incoming classes at MIT, Brown University, West Point, the US Naval Academy, Amherst College, Williams College, the top 200 officers of the Department of Defense, and the American Association of School Administrators. In 2010, the US Ambassador to India invited Koestner to keynote and lead a 19-day campaign in India to raise awareness about Violence Against Women. She has assisted the US Department of Education in developing and providing programs to women in high-risk communities. Her testimony on Capitol Hill was instrumental in the passage of federal student safety legislation. In 2007, Coe College awarded her an honorary doctorate for her extensive work on student safety and public service. In 2015, the US Department of State chose Koestner to work with a delegation of Chinese diplomates at the United Nations on strategies to reduce sexual and relationship violence. Her energy and enthusiasm spur audiences from age 8 to 80 to positive action around the globe.

Journalist Claire Gordon, who spent two years investigating sexual assault at colleges and high schools, and activist Gloria Fortuna, a sophomore at Davidson College where she has played in active role in planning Take Bake the Night, join the STET creators for a talkback on Tuesday, June 28.

Writer Amanda Duarte and Kathy Moran, an activist, educator and registered nurse known for her humanitarian efforts to defeat Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, will participate in a talkback on Thursday, June 30.

These 30-minute, moderated post-show Q&As allow Abingdon's artists, patrons and guests to discuss the play and topics relevant to building awareness of sexual violence and bringing an end to assaults.

In STET, a young journalist is assigned to write about sexual assault on college campuses and must find a unique angle for the article that will sell. During her investigation, she encounters a student with a horrific story to tell. Determined to bring the events to light, this ambitious reporter refuses to let anything stop her-including the truth.

The cast of STET features Jack Fellows, Dea Julien, Jocelyn Kurtisky, Lexi Lapp, and Bruce McKenzie.

STET includes scenic design by Jo Winiarski, lighting design by Daisy Long, costume design by Hunter Kaczorowski, sound design by Christian Frederickson, projection design by Katherine Freer, and casting by Karie Koppel. Production Stage Manager is Deidre Works. Emma Feiwel is Associate Producer.

Playwright Kim Davies is a member of Youngblood and the New Georges Jam. Her play Smoke premiered at The Flea Theater for a thrice-extended run, and was a New York Times and Time Out New York Critic's Pick. Smoke will premiere later this year in Sau Paulo, Brazil, and is forthcoming in print from Playscripts and Overlook Press.

Jocelyn Kuritsky, conceiver/founder of The Muse Project, is a New York based actor and producer. The Muse Project is a curated salon series in which a selected female actor is invited to take on a project of her own design.

Director Tony Speciale is an award-winning director and creator of new work. As the founder of Plastic Theatre, he conceived, co-authored and directed the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company-Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC directing credits: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Theatre/Dixon Place), A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson); and Remembering Mr. Maugham (Clurman Theatre). Regional directing credits: The Boy Who Danced on Air (Diversionary Theatre), The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Barry Manilow's Harmony (Alliance Theatre/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). As a solo writer, his play Delirium, which was based on the life and poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was honored with a British Writers' Guild Award. Speciale served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, where he helped found and administrated The Young Company, CSC's premiere Education and Outreach Program for New York City public high school students.

Now in its 23rd Season, Abingdon Theatre Company is dedicated to developing and producing new American plays by emerging and established playwrights. Under the artistic direction of Tony Speciale, who joined Abingdon in October 2015, the company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. Abingdon searches for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. To date, the company has collaborated with more than 200 playwrights, produced 86 New York and world-premiere plays, presented more than 700 readings, staged 200 ten-minute plays, and commissioned 6 one-act plays. Notable artists who have worked with Abingdon Theatre Company include Carl Andress, Bryan Batt, Reed Birney, Robert Brustein, Mario Cantone, Maxwell Caulfield, Dick Cavett, John Epperson, Jane Greenwood, Ralph Macchio, Roberta Maxwell, Iddo Netanyahu, Nancy Opel, Austin Pendleton, Sam Pinkleton, Marcia Rodd and Mark Waldrop. Abingdon's 2014 production of Brian Richard Mori's Hellman v. McCarthy, directed by founding artistic director Jan Buttram, was filmed and presented by WNET as part of its inaugural Theatre Close-Up series.

STET runs through July 3 in the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues): Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm, with a 3pm matinee on Saturday, June 25. Tickets are $50 and are available at abingdontheatre.org or call 212-352-3101.

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