Mirror Stage to Debut New 10-Minute Play Festival in June

Featuring six new plays by local playwrights and change-makers on June 22-23.

By: May. 24, 2024
Mirror Stage to Debut New 10-Minute Play Festival in June
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Mirror Stage will present the debut of INSPIRED BY…a new 10-minute play festival bringing together six playwrights, six change-makers, and six directors to create six transformative new plays in a matter of days.  A first for Mirror Stage, the festival premieres June 22-23.

Local playwrights will collaborate with a mix of Mirror Stage Podcast change-maker guests, drawing inspiration from their personal stories and impact across the Seattle community. Scripts are developed over three weeks, culminating in a week of rehearsals leading into the debut weekend of six staged reading performances featuring more than 20 local actors.

“We have been commissioning new work for more than seven years, and decided to develop a festival of 10-minute plays to engage even more local artists,” said Managing Artistic Director Suzanne M. Cohen. “Being deeply connected to the power of storytelling and inspired by the brilliant change-makers we've interviewed over the past few years for the Mirror Stage Podcast, the concept for 'Inspired By...' was born. Why not elevate and amplify their stories through the lens of some of Seattle's brightest artistic voices? It's an exciting new experiment for us, and I couldn't be more thrilled to see what transpires!”

INSPIRED BY… will feature new works from the following local playwrights and their inspirations:

Play titles, directors, and casting for each play will be announced after June 17. Upcoming milestone events include:

  • June 10 @ 7:00pm: First draft read through of the six plays
  • June 17 @ 7:00pm: First meeting of all the artists together (playwrights, directors, actors)
  • June 18-21 @ 7:00pm: Rehearsals
  • June 22 @ 7:30pm: Opening night

Mirror Stage takes pride in offering affordable and accessible productions. Its Radical Hospitality Pricing Model offers 20 free tickets, plus 10 Pay-What-You-Will ($1 minimum) tickets, to every performance. Tickets are also available at “Choose Your Price” of $5, $15, or $25, with general seating for all. 

INSPIRED BY… will debut June 23-24, 2024 at the The Auditorium at UHeights located at 5031 University Way NE, Seattle.  For more information and to request interviews with playwrights and change-makers, please contact Jacquelyn Rardin at jacquer@mirrorstage.org.

This event is not open to press reviews. However, members of the press are welcome to follow the development of this new event and attend June 22 or 23.

About the Playwrights and Change-Makers

Aviona Creatrix Rodriguez Brown, Inspired by Mercedes Sanchez of Cedar River Clinics
Aviona Creatrix Rodriguez Brown instills inclusivity and accessibility by creating multidisciplinary art to tell stories surrounding being multiracial, exploring queerness, working through mental illness, stress, navigating drug addiction, and homelessness. Using tools and resources from smART Grants, Artist Up Scholarship, and the Mentorly Scholarship, The Creatrix has developed healing workshops, along with a 45-minute solo show derived from self-written poetry which has been translated into Spanish and toured to New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Washington. Through ongoing community-oriented youth projects, they aspire to educate the masses on self-awareness and the benefits of art alternatives when dealing with everyday stresses.

Mercedes Sanchez is the Director of Development, Communications, and Community Education and Outreach at Cedar River Clinics and a board member of the Abortion Care Network. Originally from New Mexico, Mercedes has lived in Washington 27 years. In her free time, she writes plays, poetry, and short stories that often address social justice issues.

Kelleen Conway-Blanchard, Inspired by Paul Getzel of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Seattle
Kelleen Conway Blanchard is a playwright with a penchant for the creepy and monstrous side of humanity. Her work has been produced at Annex Theatre, MAP Theater, Seattle Immersive Theater, Pony World, Seattle Playwright's Collective, the 14/48 Festival, FringeACT, Seattle Public Theater, and many others. Her 2012 femme-sploitation women's prison takeoff Kittens in a Cage received rave reviews and spawned an acclaimed webseries. Both her Kitschy Sixties Horror play, Last Stop on Lilac and her dark comedy, The Neverborn were produced at Annex Theatre and her play Blood Countess was recently produced by MAP Theater. Her work has also been heard on several radio programs including; The Ugly Radio and Battle Crow Collective. Check out her story telling with Animals Saints and Sinners at 18th and Union.

Paul Getzel joined the NAMI Seattle team in 2022. His prior history includes work in community health, food security, HIV/AIDS, and health equity advocacy. Paul is compelled in this work by the strong belief in the power of peer-to-peer models in reducing racial and social disparities, facilitating access to mental health services, reducing stigma, and building enduring support for individuals and families pursuing their best possible mental health. As someone native to Seattle, Paul appreciates the sun and the rain equally and spends his free time enjoying the food, arts, and music the city has to offer.

Stacy D. Flood, Inspired by Karen Toering of Black & Tan Hall
Originally from Buffalo, and currently living in Seattle, Stacy D. Flood's work has been published nationally, and performed on stages nationwide as well as across Puget Sound. He has been an artist-in-residence at DISQUIET in Lisbon, Djerassi in California, in addition to Millay Arts in New York, and he is the recipient of a Getty Fellowship to the Community of Writers. His novella, The Salt Fields, was an editor's choice pick for both Shelf Awareness and the Historical Novel Society, and he is extremely honored to work with Mirror Stage again, having created the play entitled The Swimming Pool as part of the Expand Upon: Incarceration series.

Karen Toering has a background as an organizer, cultural worker, and consultant for non-profit arts and social justice organizations that is borne out of her passion for connecting people to ideas and action. Her work includes social justice philanthropy, base-building, and collaboration on media justice and media policy initiatives, and strategic engagement in equity-based collaborations. She also served 8.5 years in social justice philanthropy at Social Justice Fund NW, moving millions of dollars to grassroots organizing in five states in the Pacific NW, 14 years as Consulting Producer for Seattle's Langston Hughes African American Film Festival and is the founder of the Gary International Black Film Festival in her hometown of Gary, IN. She is also co-founder of Sankofa Film Society in Seattle, WA.

Anamaria Guerzon, inspired by Ashley McGirt of WA Therapy Fund Foundation
Anamaria Guerzon is a mixed-race Filipino-American Theatre Artist based in Seattle. Their work seeks to explore humanness, with an emphasis on marginalization within hierarchy, and the legacy of ongoing colonization. Within this, they center Brown folks, particularly Filipino people, as this reflects their heritage and identity. Their play SKIN has been developed in a workshop/reading with The Playwright Realm's Scratchpad Series (dir. May Adrales) and will be in Seattle Public Theater's New Works Distillery this June (dir. Zenaida Smith). They received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre, from Pacific Lutheran University (2021).

Ashley McGirt is the founder and CEO of the Therapy Fund Foundation. She is a psychotherapist, Tedx international speaker, and author. Ashley has received a Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Ashley currently owns and operates her own private practice. In her private practice, she focuses primarily on racial trauma, depression, and anxiety. Ashley actively works toward de-stigmatizing mental illness and reducing high rates of recidivism in American prisons, in an attempt to create a more socially just society for all. Ashley offers presentations, workshops, group facilitation, and consultation specializing in racial trauma, mental health, crisis response, social justice, and racial equity.

Serin Ngai, Inspired by Cynthia Brothers of Vanishing Seattle
Serin Ngai previously co-produced and wrote scripts for SIS Productions' episodic theatrical series, Sex in Seattle. She recently participated as a playwright in 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival for their Winter 2024 season, penning two 10-minute plays in 48 hours: The Competition and A Healthy Lifestyle. Serin is also an actor who has performed with Book-It Repertory Theater, ReAct, ArtsWest, Seattle Public Theater, SIS Productions, and Mirror Stage. Offstage, Serin has been practicing family law for the past 18 years, and she is the owner of her own firm, Sound Family Solutions, PLLC. She volunteers at two legal clinics and served as President of the Asian Bar Association of Washington in 2020. She is excited to make her Mirror Stage debut as a playwright and thanks the company for the opportunity, and Richard for his encouragement and support.

Born and raised in Seattle, Cynthia Brothers is a founding member of the anti-displacement organizing group, the Chinatown International District (CID) Coalition. She is also the founder of Vanishing Seattle, a project that documents the displaced and disappearing institutions, small businesses, and cultures of Seattle — and celebrates the spaces and communities that give this city its soul. She is co-executive producer of Vanishing Seattle films, a 6-part series released in 2020. Our conversation with her today is about her work with Vanishing Seattle, and the love she has for this city and the diverse individuals and businesses that make Seattle unique.

Dr. Lisa Price, Inspired by Maria Kolby-Wolfe of Washington Women's Foundation
Dr. Lisa Price is a scientist and physician, who minored in theater dance as an undergraduate. That has lent to being a trained observer with a lyrical lens. Lisa writes to foster her life and to affect others so that they May Foster their own in a positive way. In 2011, Lisa had just finished a postdoctoral fellowship, and as a single mother, was raising two fabulous daughters. That year, she was “let go” from a job that she had been at for two months. She was overqualified, they said. It was unexpected and traumatic. My blood pressure elevated, and her heart would not stop racing. She turned to creating a world that she could control, dressed in her concerns, plus all the elements she loves, including the natural world, order, deep relationships, magic, food, and family. Her overall goal as a writer is focused on the deconstruction of calamities as well as joy, through examination of the paths which lead to them. In this way, the stories can be used as tools, as we discover ways of interjecting means to enhance joy, or interrupting dysfunction before calamities happen.

Maria Kolby-Wolfe is President and CEO of Washington Women's Foundation (WaWF) and a part-time instructor at the University of Washington in Nonprofit Management. Previous to WaWF Maria served in a variety of development and communication roles at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Seattle Symphony, Path with Art, ACT Theatre, the Museum of Pop Culture, and Swedish Medical Center Foundation. She is also an experience board member, having served on the boards of TeamChild, Rainier Valley Food Bank, Allied Arts Foundation and the Global Leadership Forum. Maria was raised in Bellingham, WA, graduated from the University of Puget Sound, and achieved doctoral candidacy in American History at Northwestern University. Her passions and beliefs align directly with her work: Food, Art, and Justice for All.



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