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 14, 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 14, 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.


Thursday, June 14

7:30pm- Keynote & Guest Playwright Concert Reading of THE GUEST by Zina Camblin

This dark comedy tells the story of Marla, on the most important day of her life. Well, aside from the day she found Jesus. As she preps her rural Missouri home and the rest of the family for a special visitor, a storm is brewing both outside and in. The visitor is Marla's biological bi-racial daughter Jessica, long ago given up for adoption. Despite Marla's attempt at keeping everything sunshine and rainbows with finger foods and family bonding, the truth of her past puts her future in question.

Elizabeth Terrel
Dwandra Lampkin
Bianca Washington
Tucker Rafferty
Amanda Najor
Lucas Thomas
Brandon Burnett
Josh Hagemann

Friday, June 15 

7pm- 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

Two lost souls, Anne, a recovering drug addict and Cyrus, a coffee-making, poetry-spouting robot, end up together on a cross-country road trip, each searching for a home. Along the way, they meet people and kitchen appliances just as lost as they are and learn what it means to be alive.

Saturday, June 16

4pm- Chaos by Ryan Oliveira

It's said that in chaos, two points that would normally never meet may be 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 survive?

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

Lowell Carpenter, a successful prosthetist, has decided to take on a charity project.  Reading about the ritual dismemberment of a boy from Sierra Leone as part of a bloody civil war, he experiences an almost mystical compulsion to assist the teenager. He plans to bring the boy (Brima) and a second female refugee to the United States, outfit them with state-of-the-art technology, and return them to Africa.  However, Brima has his own ideas about how the project should proceed. Lowell must confront the fact that doing a good deed can be much more difficult than he ever imagined. Inspired by real-life events.

Generously Supported By:

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