Mirror Stage Focuses On Homelessness For Fourth Round Of EXPAND UPON

Theatre That Gets People Talking, Mirror Stage's Expand Upon series engages the community in meaningful dialogue, while enabling local artists to develop artistic responses to important issues. Expand Upon initiates conversation by commissioning two new plays responding to a community-selected issue, using the same multi-generational, multi-racial cast. For Expand Upon round four, the community selected the theme Homelessness, and Mirror Stage commissioned Untitled Play About Homelessness in Seattle by Holly Arsenault, and Hand by Tré Calhoun, with dramaturgy by Sara Keats.

The short plays are presented in tandem, as simply staged readings, with a moderated discussion with the audience and artists following every performance. Directed by Suzanne M. Cohen, Expand Upon: HOMELESSNESS features local Seattle actors Tee Dennard, Hazel Rose Gibson, Joe Ivy, Patrick Lennon, Marty Mukhalian, Meenakshi Rishi, Sofía Raquel Sanchez, and Pratik Shah. Performances will be October 5 & 6 at the Isaac Studio Theatre, and October 12 & 13 at Yaw Theater. Charlotte Sanders of UW Seattle will present pre-show lectures on the historical, cultural and social background of homelessness at 7:00pm prior to the Saturday, October 5 performance, and at 1:00pm before the Sunday, October 13 performance.

In 2018, homelessness rose 0.3% across the US according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, while homelessness in Seattle rose 4%. People experiencing homelessness can be individuals, children or families. They may be living on the streets; in abandoned buildings or vehicles; in shelters, missions or transitional housing; in single room occupancy; or have moved 2+ times within 60 days. Counting people living outside (unsheltered) and in shelters, Seattle has the third largest homeless population of major US cities-12,112, in 2018.

Performances of Expand Upon: HOMELESSNESS will be Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:00pm. Admission is $15; $10 for students and seniors. Every performance has 10 Pay-What-You-Can rush tickets ($1 minimum). The Isaac Studio Theatre is located at 212 N 85th St in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Yaw Theater is located at 6520 5th Ave S in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. It is part of Equinox Studios Art Collective and is located in Studio 118 in The Factory. Keep an eye out for the golden eggs and house of sticks. For more information, please visit https://mirrorstage.org.

About Holly Arsenault, playwright-Untitled Play About Homelessness in Seattle

Born in Montréal, Quebec, Holly Arsenault has lived in Seattle for 21 years. Her play Undo received a Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play and a Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Local Playwriting. Undo was nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association New Play Awards, and was a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award. Holly's plays, which also include 24 Pictures of a Pilot (Heideman Award finalist), The Cut, The Manor, Marvelous, and The Great Inconvenience, have been produced in Seattle, Boca Raton, Detroit, and Chicago. Her essays have been published in City Arts magazine and The Dramatist, and her short play Scattered Thoughts as I Prepare a Eulogy on the Occasion of the Tragic Death of the Royal Children will be published in Caffe Cino magazine this fall. Holly holds a BA from the University of Washington School of Drama. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and an alumna of the Seattle Rep Writers Group and the National Winter Playwriting Retreat.

About Tré Calhoun, playwright-Hand

Tré Calhoun has been creating theatre in Seattle for roughly three years. He has appeared in Taproot Theatre's A Civil War Christmas, Washington Ensemble Theater's Every Five Minutes, Forward Flux's The Wedding Gift, and Book-It's The Brothers K: Parts I & II. He produced The Black Eye Society: A Cycle (music, book, and lyrics) and Dirt + Dew (playwright, director) in the Seattle Fringe Festival. He co-wrote Pony World Theatre's world-premiere production of American Archipelago, and his plays Superpowers and The Other Town were workshopped with Parley Productions. He is an Associate Playwright with Parley, and earned his BA at Cornell University. He is starting the MFA Playwrighting program at Columbia University this fall.

About Charlotte Sanders, Guest lecturer October 5 & 13

Charlotte Sanders joined the School of Social Work in December 2014 as a teaching associate, serving as the field lead for the School's newly created Northwest Leaders in Behavioral Health Program. Sanders has been involved in social services for more than 22 years, primarily serving Seattle youth and young adults in different homeless service settings and capacities, ranging from direct service, program management and advocacy. Most recently, she worked with Neighborcare Health's Homeless Youth Clinic as the youth clinic manager and onsite social worker. She continues to work as an on-call intake social worker for Washington state's Children's Administration Central Intake Unit. Prior to moving to the Seattle area, she provided therapy and case management services to children through the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic located in the same town in which she was raised. Sanders also co-chairs the UW interprofessional course on homelessness.

Originally founded in 1991, Mirror Stage is a small professional theatre company reflecting the diversity of the community on stage in high quality, progressive, thought-provoking productions that play it smart without always playing it safe. The mission of Mirror Stage is to use the power of theatre to challenge assumptions, bias and prejudice, increasing equity and inclusion while encouraging more thoughtful reflection on today's issues. We nurture unique artistic voices while providing opportunities for newly emerging artists to work alongside more seasoned professionals. More at https://mirrorstage.org.

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