By: Oct. 11, 2017
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A Necessary Conversation, an original theatre production merging two plays dealing with bullying, gun violence and its aftermath will be on stage in the Straz Center for the Performing Art's TECO Theatre on January 20, 2018.

Written by Peter Nason and Deborah Bostock-Kelley, A Necessary Conversation features two poignant short plays that debuted in 2017 to stellar reviews and positive audience response - Nason's 47 Reasons to Live at the Tampa Fringe Festival and Bostock-Kelley's 11:11 at Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. His tells the tale of the inner workings of a potential school shooter and hers explores the survivors left behind.

After seeing each other's production, Deborah and Peter realized the messages they were writing about were perfect bookends for one another.

"In 47 Reasons to Live, the main character James Caldwell Mack is a troubled teen, to put it mildly. He is fond of SpongeBob, super sour gummy worms, serial killers and the Columbine shooters," explained Nason. "Two teachers find themselves in a tug-of-war match over James' soul. Will the boy become the next Charles Dickens... or the next Charles Manson?"

In Bostock-Kelley's 11:11, the play examines how mothers in a grief support group attempt to put on the façade of a normal life after experiencing a parent's worst nightmare - the traumatic and violent loss of a child.

"Now more than ever, we need to have this dialogue," she said. "Cyber bullying, compounded by gun violence, is an epidemic. You just need to turn on the tv to learn about another in this series of senseless tragedies. When is the next one too many? How many more hashtag-names-strong or hashtag-prayers-for-fill-in-the-blank do we need before someone says no more?"

In August 2017, Bostock-Kelley submitted an application and applied for a grant and the opportunity to fund their theatre project. In September 2017, she was honored to be one of two recipients awarded Theatre Tampa Bay's Jeff Norton Dream Grant. She reached out to the Straz Center with their concept and the venue graciously helped make their vision a reality.

A Necessary Conversation features two performances, 3pm and 7pm. The evening show includes a question and answer talkback panel following the production. The panel includes Robert Allen, a father who recently lost his bullied son to suicide; Freddy Barton, Safe and Sound Hillsborough, an organization founded in 2013 to address violence in the family, school, or neighborhood; Wendy Malloy, Tampa volunteer lead, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and other expert speakers still to be identified.

Everytown- Moms Demand Action, Tampa Chapter is the community partner and the recipient of ticket sales of the evening show.

A Necessary Conversation will be presented at TECO Theatre January 20. Performances are 3pm and 7pm. The evening show includes question and answer talk-back panel. Tickets for day show are $15 and evening show with talkback are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at