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Monday, May 23, 2016

Your Grandma's Theater?

Image borrowed from here
I see a lot of marketing that is geared toward making traditional things and practices hipper, and more appealing to a younger audience. Not your grandma's....knitting, cupcakes, cliches, etc. Your grandmother is old and stodgy, these ads say, not in tune with what the cool kids (like you) are into. You would appreciate this (insert product here) because you are new and special and better than her.

There is this perception in theater as well. Older, retired people have most of the wealth and we must cater to their preferences in order to support our non-profit art. Theaters offer classic pieces that were popular during the youth of their target patrons, or showcase any new plays with the idea that (wink, wink) 20-30 year-olds are just so much hipper than those other age brackets. Really?

Modern theater addresses the current times, which are the times that people of all ages are living in whether they have been alive for 20 years or 60.  My paternal grandmother is 91 years old. During her youth, we were fighting WWII. My maternal grandmother is 78. She came of age during the cold war. They both remember a time before cell phones and the internet, but we keep in touch via e-mail and they follow the progress of my theatre online (hi Nana).

The last time WCTNW presented a show with swearing, I had an older couple thank me; they were huge fans of the absurdist theatre back home and appreciated some newer fare. Every time my religious (he's a minister) neighbors come to a show, I worry- will this be the one that makes them stop speaking to us? They've done nothing but offer to help. I have not yet managed to offend them with my show choices, and after Sluts, I don't think I ever will.

Grandparents, and people in general, are more resilient than you think. Young people are not smarter, or dumber than their parents or grandparents. Presenting new shows is a challenge because people like what they are familiar with, not because they will necessarily be offended by your work. Don't practice your art in fear of judgment. Create a good product, tell people about it, and don't discriminate against the people who do show up. And if people wind up offended, well that possibility is just the price of admission.

Should you bring your kids to Sluts of Sutton Drive... probably not (if they haven't hit high school yet). But your parents? Grandparents? Sure, why not. The themes of loneliness and crushing responsibility lightened by some escapism and absurdity have been playing out in front of audiences for centuries. King Lear, anyone? Charlie Chaplin? Live theatre involves risk. Fortunately, at $15 suggested donation, it's a risk you can afford.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Update: New Venue for Sluts of Sutton Drive!!

The Ballroom at 733 Commerce

 Hello WCTNW fans! We wanted to provide an update on our upcoming production of The Sluts of Sutton Drive which was set to open this weekend.  This project began as a collaboration with the University of Washington Tacoma.  Students worked side by side with local theatre artists to create a full production on campus.

Unfortunately, during the rehearsal process, it was determined that the performance space had multiple other scholastic commitments.  Due to this and the complex nature of our show's set, we were not able to move forward with this project at UWT.  We are continuing to work with them to address how they can work with WCTNW and other local artists to enrich their theatre programming.

Since we are weeks into rehearsing The Sluts of Sutton Drive, the cast, crew, and board of WCTNW was anxious to find a new venue to present this show. We are delighted to announce that we are returning to 733 Commerce, where we have produced The School for Lies and A Life in the Theatre.  You can find out more about 733 and their upcoming events at http://www.733arts.com/. Thanks so much to Alease and 733 for helping to bring this show to life!

Sluts of Sutton Drive will open on May 27th at 8pm on the 3rd floor Ballroom of 733 Commerce. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets and at the door for a suggested donation of $15. (Donate more, donate less, no audience member turned away while we have seats available! Reserve your ticket now!) More information, including some behind the scenes sneak peaks will be coming soon, so stay tuned!

Performances on May 27, 28, 29 and June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10,  &11 at 8pm. Pay what you will preview on May 26 at 8pm.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Coming soon!

Poster designed by Jeff Soifer
Don't miss the show that critics have called a "working class version of Desperate Housewives meets Thelma and Louise"!

Featuring a stellar local cast:
Jess Alla as Stephanie, Luke Amundson as her son Jayden, Aaron Bredlau as the sensitive biker boyfriend, Eileen Dolan* as Stephanie's best friend Sharice, and Karter Duff* as The Mailman.

Lead by veteran WCTNW director Tom Sanders (of School for Lies fame), and expertly choreographed by dance superstar Joel Meyers-- Sluts of Sutton Drive oozes wit, shockingly dark humor and sudden plot twists.

Join us this May for the funniest and possibly most disturbing piece of live theatre you will see in Tacoma this decade. Pay what you will preview on May 5. Performances on May 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 at 8pm in the UW Tacoma's best hidden small theatre. 007 Cherry Parks, 1922 Pacific Avenue, down the hall from Indochine.

Tickets (only $15 suggested donation!) are available online and at the door.

*Indicates UWT student.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Audition Announcement

This spring, in partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma, Working Class Theatre NW presents
The Sluts of Sutton Drive by Joshua Conkel. Directed by Tom Sanders, this dark humored escape fantasy is about a single mother without a lot of choices whose life takes a turn for the strange.
Students and people of color are especially encouraged to audition.
Auditions are March 9, 10, 11 at 7pm at the UWT- 1900 Commerce Street, Cherry Parkes Room 007, just up the steps from Indochine.
Performances May 6-8, 13-15, 19-21 at 8pm
3M, 2W

Stephanie Schwartz, 30s; a working mom
Sharice Hildebrand, 30s; Stephanie’s best friend
Will, 30s - 40s; Stephanie’s live-in biker boyfriend
Jayden, 12 (played by an adult actor); Stephanie’s son
The Mailman, 30s; quiet and slightly off-putting

In The Sluts of Sutton Drive, Stephanie’s life is weighed down by her menial job, demanding son and complete lack of choices. So she stops paying her bills and starts drinking cleaning fluid. Her best friend and co-worker Sharice tries to cheer her up with waxing and stripper-cize. Now a rapist is in town, Stephanie starts getting obscene phone calls and even the Mailman is acting weird. How far does she have to go to make it stop?

If you would like to help, we have several student internships available, as well as ongoing volunteer opportunities. Hit us up on Facebook, or email us at workingclasstheatrenw@gmail.com.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Join WCTNW at People's Park

People's Park in Tacoma, WA
Join us this Saturday, 8/22 at the Hilltop Street Fair. We will have a booth all day where you can meet us, and learn more about our upcoming season in our brand new space. At 1pm on the People's Park Stage, local actors Chevi Chung and Mark Peterson will perform the short comedy "The Sure Thing" by David Ives. Directed by Luke Amundson.

On Saturday 9/12, we will reprise this excellent performance at 5pm as part of the Spaceworks Community Celebration, with an added preview from our upcoming full length production "Enron" by Lucy Prebble. Directed by Michael Christopher, and starring a bevy of talented local actors.

We look forward to meeting you and hanging out at one or both of these fun, free, family friendly events!

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Monday August 10
Tuesday August 11
7:30 pm @ Tacoma Youth Theater
924 B Broadway, Tacoma

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Coming Soon! A theatre near you...

The Helen Hayes Theatre in New York

There are many exciting things afoot for Working Class Theatre NW. One very real possibility is a permanent theatre home here in Tacoma! I will share more soon. But there are things that I can talk about right now!

We are seeking directors and playwrights for our upcoming seasons. Have a play you've always wanted to direct? Not only are we looking to produce four shows a season, we are looking for one acts, play readings, and other theatre pieces to round out our performance offerings. Pitch your ideas to workingclasstheatrenw(at)gmail(dot)com

We will have a booth at the Hilltop Street Fair on August 22nd. Visit us in person! Learn about our upcoming seasons, awesome future plans, and give us input on what performing arts mean to you.
Because theatre is for everyone. Young, old, rich, poor- anyone can  tell a story.

Want to help Working Class Theatre NW build a permanent home in Tacoma? We are looking for volunteers at every level. We want your ideas, unique skills, passion for the arts and commitment to the working class community.

Ideas (not an exhaustive list) of how you could help:
Accounting, budgets, fundraising, grant writing, ad sales, marketing, social media, photography, carpentry, sewing, event planning, community outreach, graphic design, painting, taking tickets...
Extroverts- you can be an actor, director, audience member with distinct laughter, community outreach guru, ad sales specialist, board member....
Introverts- perhaps you'd like to sew costumes from home, produce social media content, build theatre apps, enjoy the company of other audience members without really having to interact, or serve on the board...
Theatre Professionals- why not teach a workshop, suggest ways WCTNW can improve, or serve on the board...
Theatre Newbies- come as you are! No need to dress up. You can bring friends, or enjoy a show on your own. Ask every question; we absolutely won't think you're stupid.

Thank you so much for making our first season a resounding success. We could not have done it without the support of actors, technicians, audiences, and other awesome people just like you. We look forward to collaborating with this community for many more years!