A photo from a past Stage Center Theatre production; a man in a suit with arms outstretched, holding a book and a cloth tissue facing away from the camera, into a light

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

After nearly a year and a half of no public performances, Northeastern’s Stage Center Theatre is welcoming back visitors starting Thursday, Sept. 30 with its Nuevas Voces 10-Minute Playwriting Festival and Contest.

The festival was founded in 2017 by Northeastern alumnus and former Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) Professor Jim Blair (M.A.T. ’68 English, Literature) as a way to bring “new voices” and diverse experiences to the stage.

“This year's festival continues the theatre's evolution as a home for new voices as well as our active pursuit of work built on the pursuit of social justice, intersectionality, and community,” Assistant Professor of Communication, Media and Theatre and Artistic Director of Stage Center Theatre Adam Goldstein said. “Each of these plays dives into huge questions about our world in amazingly different ways. Whether it be grief, the epidemic of gun violence in American schools, or the complexities of familial identity, this year's works present a remarkable space for discovery, discussion, and change."

The festival will feature staged performances of three new works directed by CMT Instructor John Bliss. The plays are:

  • "Oh Snap!" by Alex Chicas (B.A. ’20 CMT)
  • "Scared" by Wyn Thomas (Greater Community)
  • "The Better Life" by Mara Galeno (B.A. ’21 CMT major, Marketing minor, current student, M.A., CMT)

Galeno’s piece was previously part of Be Bold Productions’ Short Play Festival and can be viewed on YouTube. The 4th Annual Nuevas Voces Festival was also streamed on YouTube.

To protect the well-being of the Northeastern and surrounding communities and Stage Center Theatre patrons from the spread of COVID-19, the theatre is following the current standard Chicago-area theatre practice of requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test dated within 72 hours of attendance.

Only 45 people are allowed in the audience per performance and guests will need to check in with the Front of House Manager upon arrival. Face masks must also be properly worn indoors at all times. All parties should socially distance themselves from other guests while being seated. The house will open about 20 minutes before curtain.

Stage Center Theatre has set up a ticket request form and no walk-up tickets will be available on the day of the performances. All tickets for Nuevas Voces are free for current NEIU students, faculty, staff and community members. Cash donations will be accepted to support student works. Ticket requests close 12 hours before performances to give the box office staff time to collect, verify and confirm all information for contact tracing purposes.

"I know that when the lights go out in Stage Center on Thursday, that maybe for a moment, everyone in the theatre will get to feel connected again, even for just an hour,” Goldstein said. “In some way, despite the ongoing trauma of the moment, that feels healing. For that we are so grateful for the opportunity to open our doors to share stories again."

Nuevas Voces runs through Oct. 2. The rest of the 2021-2022 Stage Center Theatre season includes productions of “Water by the Spoonful” by Pulitzer and Tony award-winning playwright and screenwriter of "In the Heights” Quiara Alegría Hudes, “Babel” by Jacqueline Goldfinger and “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Nia Vardalos and Cheryl Strayed.

Questions about performances and COVID-19 procedures should be sent to stagecentertheatre.boxoffice@gmail.com.

Top photo: An image from a past Stage Center Theatre production. Photo by Kristine Condon.