Gaspard & Dancers will be at NC State LIVE on October 5. Photo by Daniel Marracino.

Two of the highest-profile itinerant independent theater companies in the region, Honest Pint Theatre and Sweet Tea Shakespeare, have something disheartening in common: You won’t be seeing them on regional stages this fall. Company representatives cited the lack of usable and affordable space—a decades-long problem in the Triangle —when they couldn’t confirm scheduled productions before 2024.

Only a last-minute breakthrough, as the INDY went to press, kept a third, Redbird Theater Company, off that list: they’ll produce Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline at Center Theater Company’s old digs in Durham, November 30–December 9.

Among the persevering indies, Bulldog Ensemble Theater will take Samuel Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of God to Durham’s Mettlesome November 9-19, before Pure Life Theatre shows August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at William Peace University September 15-24. In October, Scrap Paper Shakespeare, whose two summer shows marked a quantum leap for the fledgling company, goes out for drinks with Prince Hal, an original adaptation of the Henriad to be staged where the errant young prince spent most of his time: in various bars. 

The independent pub crawl continues when Other Only Windows reprises Bar Room Beckett, an existential vaudeville of staged readings, songs, and the like, November 14 at the Tap Yard Tavern Room. Look for a screening of Obey the Beholder around Halloween from eggNYMPH Artist Collective. Their second initiative after a triumphant inaugural production of Annie Baker’s The Aliens in March is a short horror film that focuses on a boyfriend/girlfriend meet-the-family gathering that doesn’t quite go as expected.

Hold space also for Blue Box Theatre’s December staging of Helen of… a new re-visioning of one of the most reviled women in history, and brace for first sightings of the region’s newest comedy group when Lucky Street Comedy hits Center Theater Company’s new Carrboro digs on September 29.

Among the housed regional companies, Burning Coal Theatre scores a casting coup with Susanna Skaggs (Netflix’s Love and Gelato) as the lead character based on mathematician Ada Lovelace in the company’s season opener, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, October 12-29. PlayMakers Repertory Company (PRC) opens its season on September 6 with Clyde’s, Lynn Nottage’s award-winning 2022 dramedy that has skyrocketed to become the most-produced new play in the United States. Following that, renowned PRC stage designer McKay Coble spooks us one last time before retiring with Stephen King’s Misery, in a show whose October run (October 11-31) overlaps with a parallel production at Raleigh Little Theatre (October 20–November 5)! 

Before its October production of Twelve Angry Jurors, Justice Theater Project presents a “book in hand” reading of Sholem Asch’s The Dead Man, a remembrance of a Jewish community in Poland as it tries to move forward immediately after the First World War, September 7 and 10 at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Raleigh. 

Rounding out the residents, Theatre Raleigh grills dysfunctional families and well-intentioned interventions alongside the hot dogs and burgers in Barbecue (October 18-29), before North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre hits Halloween with The Rocky Horror Show (October 27–November 12).

Look for high-level theatrical incubation this fall in multiple venues. Twenty-three years after helpig playwright José Rivera give birth to References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, the Duke New Works Lab hosts a workshop of Rivera’s new play, Lunar Rhapsody, on September 29. Following an earlier work that focused on the UNC Black Trailblazers—the first Black students who integrated the university in the 1950s and ’0s—Process Series curator Joseph Megel presents Performing Sankofa on November 30 and December 1.

Before that, NC State’s University Theatre presents the world premiere of What We Grew Up With. The drama, which centers on a family’s experiences immigrating to America just after 9/11, was written by Kiran Soma, winner of the university’s Creative Artist Award in theater this year. 

Among the presenters, Duke Performances kicks off its rebranding as Duke Arts Presents this week with audacious mind-bending works. Outdoors, the fantastical Birdmen of the Netherlands’ Close-Act Theatre will take to the sky outside Duke Chapel, in front of Baldwin Auditorium, (September 7-9). Indoors, viewers will don Oculus virtual reality headsets to interact with a live performer on a stage in Sweden in Slumberland’s Why Can’t We Sleep?, a work based on interviews with youth around the world about their experiences with insomnia (September 6-10). 

Leave it to a stranger to tell you your own story. In Chapel Hill, Germany’s Rimini Protokoll concludes its residency with Carolina Performing Arts with 100% the Triangle, an immersive work created with a group of 100 people who were chosen to carefully reflect our region’s current demographics (October 14-15). 

NC State Live presents a commissioned new work, a collaboration between choreographers Gaspard Louis and Doug Varone, when it hosts Gaspard & Dancers on October 5. In the largest houses, Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts brings Eddie Izzard September 9 to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, before a Spanish-language version of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, Monólogos de la Vagina, September 29. Finally, DPAC packs the house with Wicked (through September 17), MJ the Musical (October 10-22), and Funny Girl (November 7-12).

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