Cunningham To Direct Bryna Turner's BULL IN A CHINA SHOP For Mendocino Theatre Company
The Mendocino Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back director Stephanie C. Cunningham, who arrives this month to direct the California premiere of Bryna Turner's Bull in a China Shop. Cunningham directed last year's highly-acclaimed production of Annie Baker's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Flick. "I am thrilled to be back with MTC," she said in a recent interview, noting that Mendocino feels like a "home away from home".
Bull in a China Shop is the new play by Bryna Turner, a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from the Mendocino coast. Covering forty years in ninety minutes, it follows Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks as they revolutionize education for women at the turn of the twentieth century. We watch their relationship grow and strain against the confines of society and academia. "This is such an important work," says Cunningham. "I think Bryna's startlingly modern play brings before us queer pioneers who were doing the real work of forwarding the education of womankind through persistence and strength. And yet they are unmistakably human; these larger-than-life historical figures are real and present with us-living, loving, and struggling through all that comes with a long-term relationship."
Ms. Cunningham is a theatre director and educator living in Brooklyn. She holds a MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama, an MA in Theater Education from Emerson College, and a Classical Theater Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. As a director, her work focuses on new play development and challenging text with heightened language. Currently, she is a Drama Curriculum Specialist at The Juilliard School, is on the faculty of the New School of Performing Arts, and is the Artistic Director of Wide Eyed Productions, a New York City company that focuses on new works by up-and-coming playwrights.
Bull in a China Shop, which will be performed weekends from June 7th through July 15th, is the fourth play that Cunningham has directed for the Mendocino Theatre Company. "Stephanie is not only a talented, insightful, and discerning director, but she is also a joy to work with," says Pamela Allen, MTC's executive director. "We are thrilled to have her back to direct Bryna's vibrant new play for our stage."
Photo credit: Kyle Lemaire