Hartford, CT, May 26, 2021 – Hartford Stage is excited to announce the launch of the inaugural American Voices New Play Festival. The virtual festival will feature three new American plays by writers with Latinx and Hispanic roots — Ash Tree by Georgina Escobar, Her Math Play by Christina Pumariega, and Simona’s Search by Martín Zimmerman. Each play will receive a 4-day workshop with Hartford Stage and a public reading from June 23-26, 2021.

The festival schedule includes a virtual kick-off conversation with the writers from each play hosted by Artistic Director, Melia Bensussen on Wednesday, June 23 at 7 pm, a reading of Her Math Play on Thursday, June 24 at 8 pm, a reading of Simona’s Search on Friday, June 25 at 8 pm and a reading of Ash Tree on Saturday, June 26 at 3 pm.

“Supporting playwrights is crucial to the landscape of the American theatre. Giving these three writers the opportunity to work with actors, directors, as well as space and time to grow, will contribute to the development of their work, and deepen their connection to our community. I am excited to continue the legacy of new play development at Hartford Stage and provide room for this creative process,” said Hartford Stage Artistic Director, Melia Bensussen. “These are exciting and dynamic new American plays from Latinx voices that help showcase the rich tapestry of experience we have in this country. This festival is an opportunity to get a glimpse into the process of creating a new work for the theatre. ¡Acompáñanos!”

Festival Kick Off

Wednesday, June 23 at 7 pm

(Recording available to watch throughout the Festival)

Join Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and the festival’s artists for a conversation about the festival and the process of developing new work!

Simona’s Search

By Martín Zimmerman

Directed by Melia Bensussen

Thursday, June 24 at 7 pm

Simona’s Search is a moving, poetic look at the bond between fathers and daughters. Curious about her father’s life in Latin America before moving to the United States, Simona obsesses over his secrets, and her thoughts and dreams become haunted by the mystery that is his past.

Her Math Play

By Christina Pumariega

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Friday, June 25 at 7 pm

JoAnne loves Math like a person. But it’s the very language her artist daughter Sam fails to speak. Inspired by the author’s math professor mom, Her Math Play is a love letter to mothers, daughters, latent feminism and Math told in equations and whale song.

Ash Tree

By Georgina Escobar

Directed by Kim McKean

Puppetry Designer: Mindy Escobar-Leanse

Saturday, June 26 at 3 pm

Three sisters faced with their mother’s sudden death engage in a dangerous game of forgetting and make-believe. Amidst confusion, riddles, journeys, and the ever-blurry boundaries between fiction and fact, the sister’s fantastical playtime—inspired by their mother’s bedtime stories—ultimately leads them to a truth and acceptance that inspires their own new story. A dark, humorous and hopeful adventure filled with magical objects, mysterious shadow puppets and a quirky cast of characters. A reading for all those young at heart.

Special Pre-Festival Event!

Yerba Bruja: In Memory Of

Created by Sageseeker Productions 

in partnership with Long Wharf Theatre

YERBA BRUJA: In Memory Of is an experimental pilot film that asks collaborators to co-create short performance sets inspired by the yerba bruja plant, which even in the harshest conditions, thrives. 

Join Hartford Stage on June 17 at 7pm for a virtual debrief with the cast & crew, hosted by Director Jasmin Agosto, to discuss the creative process and the powerful collaborations that formed this new work.

Before or after our June 17 event, please visit longwharf.org/yerba-bruja/ anytime from June 10 through 24 to watch YERBA BRUJA: In Memory Of.

Tickets for the festival are free with a suggested donation to Hartford Stage’s ongoing Raise the Curtain fundraising campaign to sustain the theatre during the pandemic, and prepare for a reopening in the fall. Visit http://www.hartfordstage.org to reserve your ticket. The festival is made possible with support from the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation and Adams + Knight.

In synchronicity with the festival, Hartford Stage is pleased to celebrate other works by writers with Latinx and Hispanic roots that are happening in June at our peer theatres. Those works include: Black Beans Project by Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez at the Huntington Theatre in Boston (available now thru mid-June), Moonlighters by Cin Martinez at TheaterWorks Hartford (June 6-26), and Yerba Bruja: In Memory Of by Hartford-based Sageseeker Productions, which will have free viewings through Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven (June 10-24). Hartford Stage will also host an event via Zoom with the creators of Yerba Bruja: In Memory Of on Thursday, June 17 at 7 pm to reflect on and amplify this unique Hartford-New Haven creative collaboration curated by Jasmin Agosto of Sageseeker Productions.

For further information on the plays and festival and to reserve a ticket for the events, please visit us at www.hartfordstage.org

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