MacMillan added, “As with our season as a whole, the Reading Series gives Philadelphia audiences a chance to examine important local themes from a global perspective. The plays of Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales frequently speak to universal concerns in intimate, human ways.”
For the 2022-2023 reading series, Inis Nua has selected three plays that focus on contemporary queer stories from the British Isles—Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. It is particularly important to explore LGBTQI+ stories right now, given the political and social climate today in the US and abroad, where conservative views are threatening civil liberties and there has been an increase in violence against LGBTQI+ people.
For the start of the series, audiences are invited to Love Song to Lavender Menace, directed by celebrated local actor Dave Bardeen, and featuring performers Brennen Savon Malone, Max Gallagher, and Kirk Wendell Brown. The series is produced by Adrena Williams and Inis Nua’s dramaturg, Kate Fischer, joins the team as part of a partnership with Villanova University’s Masters in Theatre program. Series Producers are Ed and Pat Coyle, Steven Peitzman, Sonya Peterson & John Samas, Lynn Schwartz, and Nick Seymour. The Series Sponsor is Thomas Jefferson University.
Playwright James Ley has been called “One of Scotland’s most exciting, early-career writers” from Exeunt Magazine. Ley is currently working on projects for Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Ambassador Theatre Group, Perth Theatre and the Scottish Film Talent Network.
Following Love Song to Lavender Menace, Inis Nua presents Irish play How to Keep an Alien by Sonya Kelly, directed by Charlotte Northeast, and presented on March 13, 2023. Based on the playwright’s own experiences, a woman navigates her heart and immigration services in an effort to find her true calling and bring the love of her life across the border.
Inis Nua will close the season on May 15, 2023 with the third reading, Offside by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, directed by Brett Ashley Robinson. Lyrical and unafraid to play with dramatic form, this play dives into the world of competitive women’s soccer, and just what players must confront to become champions. And in a sports city such as Philly with its notoriously passionate sports fans, there’s nothing they love more than champions.
Each reading includes post-show discussions with cast, director, and dramaturg. Inis Nua partners with Villanova University’s Masters in Theatre program to pair student dramaturgs with the professional artists who are rehearsing the readings in our series.
All readings will be at 7:00pm and take place at the Proscenium Theatre at the Drake (302 South Hicks Street). Tickets for the reading are free but reservations are recommended. For more information and to reserve seating, visit www.inisnuatheatre.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
David Bardeen (director) directed the Lantern Theatre’s Shakespeare NOW reading of Henry IV, Part 2 in the spring of 2020 and was the Associate Director of their production of Othello, cut short by Covid-19, as well as the Assistant Director for Measure for Measure and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. As an actor, David has received seven Barrymore nominations and is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Thanks Charlotte, KC, Adrena, and Nick.
Brennen Savon Malone (Glen) Regional: Rent (New Light Theatre); Spring Awakening (Milton Theatre); Big Fish (Candlelight Theatre); Wine in the Wilderness (Ego Po Theater); Emperor of the Moon (Braving The Bard); Citizen: An American Lyric (New Light Theatre); He also originated the role of Juicy in James Ijames’ Pulitzer Prize Winning Fat Ham. Education: BA in Theatre and Rhetoric from Bates College. Brennen would like to give thanks to and love to their family: chosen and birth. For media updates, follow me on Instagram @brennensavon
Max Gallagher (Lewis) is an interdisciplinary artist and mathematician. They are completing their undergraduate studies at Drexel University, where they have performed in many productions, cabarets, and events. Past work includes People’s Light (dramaturgy intern) and Mantua Theatre Project (teaching artist).
Kirk Wendell Brown (The Guest) is delighted to contribute to this Inis Nua project. Kirk has appeared on numerous Philadelphia area stages. Recently Lantern Theater’s (coincidental) streamed production of “Plague,” Measure For Measure, Hapgood, Coriolanus, As You Like It and The Train Driver. He performed as Shylock in DelShakes’ The Merchant of Venice. Other productions include Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Henry V), Arden Theatre Company (Henry V), and People’s Light (As You Like It); contemporary works at Walnut Street Theatre, InterAct Theatre, The Wilma Theater, and more. He has produced and instructed theater curricula from Lawrenceville, NJ to St. Denis, France. Theater training includes Boston University College of Fine Arts and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art/King’s College-London (Text & Performance).
ABOUT INIS NUA THEATRE COMPANY
Inis Nua Theatre Company, founded in 2004, is an award-winning company within the vibrant Philadelphia theatre scene. The mission of Inis Nua, which translates to “new island” in Gaelic, is to produce contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales which reflect those cultures’ new identities in today’s world. We are the only theatre company in the greater Philadelphia region with this unique mission. The plays we present are built on intimate, clear storytelling, hence our tagline, “tell the story.”
Now in our 19th year, we have an exciting season planned, which includes two mainstage plays, a Pop-up Play in a Pub, (a fan-favorite given the more relaxed venue and structure, enjoying a beverage and snack along with the play), and a free themed Reading Series. Our mainstage shows are performed at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake. Inis Nua is a resident partner at the Theatres at The Drake along with lead partner InterAct Theatre Company, Azuka Theatre, and PlayPenn.