Activate: Midwest

ActivateMidwest is dedicated to developing and producing the plays of emerging theatre artists from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Playwrights from these states submit their work annually, and three to four plays are selected for a staged reading each summer. The winning play goes on to receive a workshop production in Chicago. The goal of ActivateMidwest is to advance and expand the artistic reputation of Southwest Michigan by providing the community and WMU students with an opportunity to engage with emerging and professional theatre artists from across the Midwest. Supported by WMU student actors, playwrights, and directors as well as several community artists, the festival will facilitate collaboration between students and professionals and encourage theatre innovation through the production of new work.

Activate: Midwest

A New Play Festival at Western Michigan University

June 15 and 16, 2018

Western Michigan University’s 4th Annual Activate: Midwest New Play Festival 2018 will feature Bitten by a Boomslang by Andrew Black, Faith in a Fallen World by Georgette Kelly, Chaos by Ryan Oliveira, and It's a Small World by Amber Palmer.

These selected plays will be developed and presented as staged readings June 15 and 16, 2018 as part of Activate: Midwest in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  



 Playwrights selected for the festival will attend an initial reading in May, then return to Kalamazoo for a one-week residency during June 2018 leading up to the festival shows. The Festival will feature readings, workshops, and responses from guest playwrights, literary managers, and producers. 

Previous festivals have featured a keynote and workshop led by Sarah Ruhl, Steven Dietz, and Charles Smith.

Stay tuned for here for an announcement about this year's featured keynote!


Thursday, June 14

7:30pm- Keynote & Guest Playwright Concert Reading-TBA


Friday, June 15 

6pm- Faith in a Fallen World by Georgette Kelly


Bethany is the only daughter of a charismatic creationist preacher who has founded The Museum of God’s Creation in rural Kentucky. When Bethany returns home from her first year in a liberal arts college, she finds herself working retail in the museum’s gift shop as her father preps for a televised debate with Rita Anning, a famed evolution scientist. The morning before the debate, Bethany’s atheist boyfriend shows up and they must juggle two worlds and a big secret. Meanwhile, Bethany discovers a six-year-old girl who has been living in the museum and who promises to deliver a miracle.

9pm- It’s a Small World by Amber Palmer

Anne, a recovering drug addict, is back in contact with her childhood best friend after he abandons his robot son/coffee maker at Disney World and asks her to send it back to him. Instead, the duo ends up on a long road trip from Orlando Florida to Canandaigua New York, where they meet other people and small kitchen appliances who are just as lost as they are. 


Saturday, June 16

4pm- Chaos by Ryan Oliveira

It’s said that in chaos, two points that would normally never meet may are suddenly forced to interact with one another. Moving Backwards through a terrorist attack, complete strangers find each other struggling to answer the dominant question: How are they possibly going to surivive?  

7:30pm- Bitten by a Boomslang by Andrew Black

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