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PURE Theatre Announces Plays for Spring 2021 in Season 18: Season of Hope

Holy City Sinner

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By: PURE Theatre

PURE Theatre is pleased to announce three new plays to complete Season 18: Season of Hope. The three plays will take the place of previously planned productions that have been postponed due to COVID-19 closures and limitations.  

“Even under normal circumstances, I think that we’re always hopeful when planning a season, and this season is even called ‘Season of Hope,’” says PURE Theatre Artistic Director Sharon Graci, “but the conditions of producing work during the pandemic require us to make adjustments.”

“We’re very excited about these plays,” continues Graci. “They’re a mixture of plays that audiences have been asking us to bring back or that had limited festival runs at PURE. The programming also includes the South Carolina premiere of a one-person play that celebrates difference and acceptance.”

Despite the year-long closure of the company’s theatre space located in the new Cannon Street Arts Center due to Covid-19, PURE has produced a steady stream of online events, including full productions, readings, and classes. The company will continue to produce plays that are well suited to performances outside of a traditional venue, meet financial goals, and maintain the safety and wellbeing of artists and audience. Plays announced for the remainder of Season 18 include Stages by PURE Core Ensemble Member David Lee Nelson, Constellations by Nick Payne, and The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne (pending approval of performance rights).

Stages, an original one-person play written by the late David Lee Nelson, PURE Theatre Core Ensemble Member, and Playwright in Residence, premiered at the 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival and will be available for streaming beginning in March 2021. It is PURE’s second co-production with Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, IA, and is based on Nelson’s book Hope in the Time of Chemo, a biographical collection of humorist essays examining his battle with Stage IV colon cancer. Nelson passed away in September due to complications of his illness. The production is Nelson’s final performance captured on film during a run of the show at Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa, and is Nelson’s inspirational, funny, and unflinching story of being diagnosed with early-onset colorectal cancer. Stages will be available for streaming March 5-20, 2021.

Following Stages, PURE is remounting Nick Payne’s Constellations, which received its Southeast Regional Premiere at PURE in 2016 and will feature the play’s original cast of PURE Core Ensemble Members Camille Lowman and Paul Rolfes accompanied by composer/musician Bill Carson. Constellations received critical acclaim at PURE and features the work of two PURE Core Ensemble members as well as an original score written and performed by singer/songwriter Bill Carson. Additional information on the production will follow, but the production plans include streaming performances beginning in late April 2021 as well the potential for some limited live performances.

Pending approval of performance rights, PURE will conclude Season 18 with the South Carolina Premiere of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne. Core Ensemble Member David Mandel will portray every character in a small Jersey Shore town as they unravel the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year-old boy who goes missing.

Previously planned programming for the season included Elaine Murphy’s Little Gem, Gloria: A Life by Emily Mann, and The Play That Goes Wrong by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer. Restrictions on streaming rights, cast size, and the overall scope of these productions make them better suited to in-person productions when the company resumes standard operations with a live audience.

Tickets for all of PURE’s virtual programming during Season 18 are available to all for a Pay What You Will donation. To secure tickets and viewing links, patrons should visit the company’s website at puretheatre.org or call the theatre at 843.723.4444.

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