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Streaming play readings bring new works, international talent to WWU

  • j. chavez holds an award for their work and points at the camera with their tongue out.
    j. chavez
  • Black and white photo of Mark Lutwak sitting in a chair in a studio speaking with a person off camera.
    Mark Lutwak
  • Portrait of Pirronne Yousefzadeh in front of a wall with peeling gray paint.
    Pirronne Yousefzadeh
  • Steve H. Broadnax III stands in a black suit with a black background looking off-camera.
    Steve H. Broadnax III

Internationally acclaimed stage directors Steve H. Broadnax III and Pirronne Yousefzadeh, along with playwrights Brian Quijada, Ruby Rae Spiegel, and Katori Hall, will join students and faculty from the Western Washington University Theatre Arts program to present a series of streaming play readings in January and February 2021. 

The winter reading series features six new works by students and graduates of WWU, as well as new and newly published works by playwrights Brian Quijada, Ruby Rae Spiegel, and Katori Hall. All performances will be streamed via YouTube and are free and open to the public. Links to the readings will be published at Times list for performances are U.S. Pacific.

Broadnax will direct Katori Hall’s “Hurt Village” for the WWU series. “Hurt Village” follows a family in Memphis public housing looking for a fresh start in a new home. Streaming performances of “Hurt Village” are February 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. Broadnax is on tap to direct “Thoughts of a Colored Man” on Broadway after its successful run at Center Stage in Baltimore.

Pirronne Yousefzadeh will direct Ruby Rae Spiegel’s “Dry Land” – a play about abortion, female friendship, resiliency, and “what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left.” Yousefzadeh is co-founder of Maia Directors and the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Engagement at Geva Theatre Center. Spiegel wrote “Dry Land” while attending Yale University. The play was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and earned her a five star review from New York Times critic Ben Brantley when it premiered in 2014. “Dry Land” will stream for free via YouTube on February 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Brian Quijada has worked with WWU Theatre Arts students several times. In 2016, he joined WWU’s “Hip Hop Theatre Weekend,” performing excerpts from his one-man show “Where Did We Sit on the Bus?” Quijada returns for the current new works series to produce a play reading and workshop. The streaming performances at 6 p.m. on February 4 and 5 will feature live chat with the audience.

Six current student playwrights will present new works as part of the series on January 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. Visit to see which three plays will be read each night.

Mark Lutwak will direct “The Woodpecker” by Boomer Lusink; “First Step: An Ode to Wham!” by Hope Winsor; “Spiked” by Kevin Harris; “Conversations with a Cat” by Chauncey Drummond; and “Tidal Lock” by Jessica Moreland. Lutwak served as director of education and outreach for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, artistic director at Honolulu Theatre for Youth, executive director at Rain City Projects, a resident director at New Dramatists in NYC, and program director for Taller Latinoamericano.

Award-winning playwright and WWU alum j. chavez will direct the sixth student work, “Gimme A Sign” by W. Barnett Marcus. Chavez’s play “how to clean your room (and remember all your trauma)” won the Kennedy Center 2020 Undergraduate National Award and is being published in the Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays in May 2021. They are the founder and Artistic Director of Haus of Hazard Theatre Productions in Bellingham.

Contact: Chris Casquilho, Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts manager of Marketing and Special Events at (360) 650-2829, or

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Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 11:11am