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City Theatre Presents THE RIVERS DON'T KNOW


City Theatre to premiere a community-centered new play featuring stories of immigration in Pittsburgh. Admission will be free.

Prior to City Theatre's 47th subscription season, marking a return to indoor performances after 18-months, the company will premiere a community-centered new play featuring stories of immigration in Pittsburgh.

Over the past two seasons, playwright James Mcmanus and director Michael John Garcés have conducted interviews and story circles (both in person and virtually during the pandemic) with immigrant communities and partner organizations throughout Pittsburgh. Mr. McManus has since brought those stories to life in a new play titled The Rivers Don't Know, which will now premiere before City Theatre's 2021/2022 season in partnership with Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse. Admission is free, but reservations required. Performances run September 10-19, 2021.

"Writing a play where the words are not strictly from my imagination, but from people who sat across from me feels like a sacred trust," said Playwright James Mcmanus. "I can conjure the faces and feel the words of those who shared difficult and joyous moments from their lives about the struggles and triumphs of being an immigrant or refugee in a new city. I want to be careful with the pieces of their lives that they were brave enough to share while at the same time crafting a script that will engage an audience and give a fuller account of their lives than is often shared in the news. I feel a weight to get it 'right' because that feels to me what every person and every community deserves."

The production coincides with Welcoming Week (September 10 - 19, 2021), an initiative by Welcoming America to bring together immigrants, refugees, and long-time residents to affirm the importance of welcoming and inclusive places.

Support for The Rivers Don't Know comes from the Allegheny Regional Asset District's RADical ImPAct program, made in honor of RAD's 25th Anniversary in 2019. The premiere will be part of the program's annual RADical days, which offers an annual thank you to the public with free admission, tours, performances, and family activities offered by the organizations and attractions that are funded by RAD.

"The RAD Board was impressed with the inclusivity of City Theatre's proposal for this unique new play and how integral the community would be to the process," said RAD Board Chair Dusty Elias Kirk. "Their partnership with local organizations, the incorporation of real stories from our immigrant and refugee neighbors, and the fact that the entire run will be free and open to the public all align perfectly with RAD's values."

City Theatre was one of only 12 organizations funded by this initiative. With RAD's support, City Theatre has commissioned and developed the play and engaged several community partners including ARYSE, The All for All Coalition powered by the Global Switchboard, Global Minds, Literary Pittsburgh, JFCS Refugee & Immigrant Services, and World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

More information and tickets are available at For phone sales or other questions, the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office can be reached at 412.392.8000.

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