In mid-November, Shenandoah Conservatory will host a three-day residency with American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, whose play “Between Riverside and Crazy” received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This extraordinary opportunity for both conservatory students and the university at large is an outgrowth of Shenandoah’s tradition of hosting Pulitzer Prize-winning composers at the Winchester campus. Now, for the first time, the theatre division will offer acting students a chance to work with a nationally recognized playwright who is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Guirgis’ plays have been produced extensively on Broadway and Off, throughout the United States at major regional theaters and also internationally.
As part of his guest artist residency at Shenandoah Conservatory, Guirgis will teach two, three-day masterclasses and participate in a discussion with faculty about the role of new plays in acting training. Guirgis will also attend a late-night performance of the student group “Playwrights,” and join a roundtable discussion with that group about new works. The residency culminates in a two-part public forum: conservatory students will perform selections from Guirgis’ plays, and then invite audiences for a dialogue following the performances.
Special Event: An Evening with Stephen Adly Guirgis
Guirgis’ residency culminates in “An Evening with Stephen Adly Guirgis” at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 in Glaize Studio Theatre. Shenandoah Conservatory students will perform selections from Guirgis’ plays and host a discussion with the playwright immediately following the performance. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more by visiting the event on Shenandoah Conservatory’s Facebook page.
This performance and discussion contain mature language, themes and sexual content that some audiences may find disturbing or offensive.
Stephen Adly Guirgis
“Guirgis, like other storytellers who explore the sacred and the profane, is most interested in how grace transforms us. His empathetic, poetic tales of ex-cons, addicts, and other men whom society would label losers return us, again and again, to a world that Guirgis, by virtue of his particular religion—the church of the streets—illuminates with the bright and crooked light of his faith.” — Hilton Als, The New Yorker
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ plays have been produced in many countries and throughout the United States. They include “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train” (Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, Barrymore Award, Olivier Nomination for London’s Best New Play), “Our Lady of 121st Street” (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations), “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” (“10 Best” Time Magazine & Entertainment Weekly), “The Little Flower of East Orange” (with Ellen Burstyn & Michael Shannon), all of which were directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and first produced by New York City’s Labyrinth Theater Company. The Broadway production of Guirgis’ play “The Motherfucker with the Hat” received six Tony nominations, including Best Play. In London, his plays have premiered at The National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida, The Hampstead and at The Arts Theater in the West End. He is currently writing and co-creating “The Get Down” on Netflix. Guirgis received the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, and a TCG fellowship. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of MCC’s Playwright’s Coalition and of Labyrinth Theater Company. As an actor, he has appeared in theatre, film and television, including roles in Kenneth Lonergan’s film “Margaret,” and Todd Solondz’s “Palindromes.” He is a former violence prevention specialist and H.I.V. educator, and currently lives in New York City.
Previous Pulitzer Prize-winning Guest Artist Residencies at Shenandoah Conservatory
Previous distinguished guests of Shenandoah Conservatory’s Pulitzer Prize-winning guest artist residencies include composers John Corigliano (2016), David Lang (2015), Jennifer Higdon (2014) and Kevin Puts (2013).