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Southern Rep Theatre Joins Loyola University New Orleans for Two-Year Residency

Loyola press release - September 30, 2016

Exciting new partnership brings regional premieres to Loyola

As the university’s theatre department enters a new Golden Age under new Artistic Director and Department Chair Dr. Laura Hope, Southern Rep Theatre establishes a two-year residency at Loyola University New Orleans. Both theatres will usher in a series of new plays and re-imagined classics during the 2016-2017 season, ensuring an outstanding experience for both Loyola students and audiences.

“So many of our students, staff and alumni have and do work with Southern Rep, so this partnership just seemed to be a perfect fit,” said Dr. Laura Hope, an award-winning director, dramaturg, actor, and theatre professor who assumed leadership of Loyola’s Theatre and Dance Department as department chair in January 2016.

“Both Loyola and Southern Rep theatres have a strong commitment to producing new plays, and enjoy celebrating New Orleans’ culture, and the work of local artists. Both theatres have selected plays for this season that reflect concerns regarding social justice, so central to the mission at Loyola. A commitment to social justice is certainly a recurring theme in the work of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and to many of the productions staged by Southern Rep, such as last season’s Big Easy Award-winning Song of a Man Coming Through, on which a number of Loyola’s students, alumni, and faculty worked.”

Founded in 1986, Southern Rep is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed regional theatre company that produces bold world premieres, the best of Broadway and off-Broadway, and classic plays under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Aimée Hayes, an alumna of Loyola’s acclaimed English Department. Southern Rep’s mission is to develop and produce new plays that reflect the diversity of New Orleans, to provide professional theatre of the highest artistic quality and achievement, and to establish a creative working environment that nurtures theatre professionals.

The nearly 30-year-old theatre founded by Loyola Professor Emeritus Rosary O’Neill has long held workshops and summer camps at Loyola, and a number of Loyola students, staff, faculty and alumni have performed or helped produce Southern Rep plays. The two-year residency at Loyola will bring undergraduate theatre students opportunities to see professional plays in development and partake in the production of regional premieres.

“Southern Rep Theatre has a long relationship with Loyola University and counts many alums on its staff. This partnership is essentially a homecoming for us!” Hayes said. “The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance under Laura Hope's leadership offers many exciting opportunities for exchange of ideas, art and scholarship. We have always worked with Loyola students through our internship program and are excited to expand the opportunities we can offer them year-round.”

This year’s riveting performance of “Grounded,” a regional premiere starring Loyola theatre alumna and award-winning actress Kerry Cahill, explores issues of contemporary warfare, as a female fighter pilot operates drones in Afghanistan from her home in Nevada and fights personal issues of power and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

A highly anticipated performance of Tennessee William’s “Sweet Bird of Youth,” explores the relationship between a drifter and faded movie star, as the drifter returns home in an effort to revive his former glory and make a comeback.

The regional premiere of “Father Comes Home from the Wars – Parts 1, 2, and 3” by acclaimed contemporary playwright Suzan-Lori Parks addresses the struggles of a former slave who fought in the Civil War in order to secure his freedom – and returns home a changed man.

Following an October production of “Airline Highway” at the University of New Orleans, Southern Rep Theatre will reside at Loyola for two years, while a full production theatre facility is built in Mid City.

The 2016-2017 season of Southern Rep Theatre performances at Loyola includes the following performances:

GROUNDED

By George Brant

Directed by Larissa Lurry

Featuring Kerry Cahill

regional premiere

November 2 – 20, 2016

Loyola University – Lower Depths Theatre

Kerry Cahill stars as an Air Force pilot whose career is ended due to her unplanned pregnancy. A position in the “Chair Force” piloting a drone puts the war just a one-hour commute from her husband and daughter in the Nevada suburbs. From George Brant, whose work the Sun Chronicle calls “stunning and haunting,” GROUNDED is a one-woman journey into the heart of darkness where the vast deserts of Iraq and the USA are separated only by a 1.2 second delay.

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH

By Tennessee Williams

Directed by Mel. Cook

Featuring Leslie Castay

presented in partnership with the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

March 21 – April 15, 2017

Loyola University – Marquette Theatre

Southern Rep continues its commitment to the Tennessee Williams canon with SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, in which the only thing more dangerous than obsessing over the past is striving to repeat it. Leslie Castay stars as Alexandra del Lago, a silver screen legend on the run following a humiliating comeback. She wakes up, disoriented and hungover, in a grand hotel hidden away along the Gulf Coast with Chance—local boy-turned-actor-turned-gigolo who is plotting a comeback of his own.

FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS (PARTS 1, 2, & 3)

By Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton

regional premiere

May 31 – June 18, 2017

Loyola University – Marquette Theatre

West Texas, 1863. Hero is promised his freedom from slavery in exchange for his service in the Civil War—on the Confederate side. He leaves behind his community, his father, and the woman he loves for what is likely an empty promise. What Hero finds on the front lines might make it impossible for him to return home the same man. New York Magazine declares Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’s FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS (PARTS 1, 2, & 3) A “masterpiece.”