The Wilma Theater announces the return to live performances with their 2021-22 Season

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Feature photo: Cherry Orchard Workshop by Kristin Finger

The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia is pleased to announce the return to live performances with their 2021-22 Season, featuring three plays that are about families and communities facing moments of crises; all explore important issues in daring, theatrical ways. Additionally, The Wilma has made improvements to the theater’s physical facility, and taken steps to improve accessibility. The Wilma company has also done the important work of creating policies, practices, and procedures to make their organization more inclusive and equitable for artists, staff, and audiences.
“The productions in our 2021-22 Season are plays that we had scheduled for previous seasons, or shows we had planned for a very long time,” notes Lead Artistic Director James Ijames.  “Our commitment to the artists working on those productions is incredibly important to us, which is why we are presenting these exciting works to you this season. As it happens, all of these plays take place inside family homes. After a long period of isolation, we are now entering the spaces of three very different families, and watching their lives explode out into the wider world.”

The Wilma’s 2021-22 Season includes:

MINOR CHARACTER: SIX TRANSLATIONS OF UNCLE VANYA AT THE SAME TIME
Created by New Saloon from text by Anton Chekhov

Translations by Marian Fell, Laurence Senelick, Paul Schmidt, Carol Rocamora, Milo Cramer, and Google TranslateDirected By Yury Urnov
October 5-24, 2021

The Wilma will welcome back audiences with MINOR CHARACTER, a joyful and music-filled comedic kaleidoscope. A band of actors come together to perform a warm-hearted yet bittersweet look at love, longing, and the limitations of language.   Vanya feels like he’s wasted his life, and lost his chance at love. In this revolutionary new work, the classic character of Uncle Vanya gets reflected through the prisms of different translations and diverse performers.
Six versions of UNCLE VANYA, including Google Translate’s hilariously nonsensical one, are blended together to make one wildly thrilling new show. Performers from the Wilma’s HotHouse Acting Company play many characters – including different versions of the same character – who peddle bicycles, pick mushrooms, and pickle cucumbers while dreaming of better lives.  The original New York production of this play, which wowed audiences at the Public Theater, was created by New Saloon, co-founded by the Wilma’s Co-Artistic Director Morgan Green. The Wilma’s version is directed by Co-Artistic Director Yury Urnov.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD
By Anton Chekhov

Directed by Dmitry Krymov
April 12 – May 1, 2022
The New York Times recently called Dmitry Krymov “one of the world’s finest theatermakers.” For this new adaptation of THE CHERRY ORCHARD, the world-renowned Russian director collaborates with the Wilma’s acclaimed HotHouse Acting Company to blast apart one of theater’s enduring masterworks. THE CHERRY ORCHARD centers around a Russian family grappling with the potential foreclosure of their estate, and a community in transition as the old makes way for the new. Volleyballs and sunflower seeds fly, while a giant mechanical train station flipboard tells the future, plus more surprises await in Krymov’s inventive re-interpretation.

After years of collaboration and planning, this bold production promises to be a stunning spectacle of unforgettable imagery, along with playful, powerful performances.  THE CHERRY ORCHARD has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.  The production was made possible with generous support from the Mart Foundation.

FAIRVIEW
By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by James Ijames
May 31-June 18, 2022
The Frasier family is preparing to celebrate grandma’s birthday, cooking dinner, drinking wine, and hiding secrets. But what starts as a sitcom about a Black family explodes into a raucously brilliant look at race in America. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play will spark passionate debates, but also crucial transformations. In its stunning and much-discussed final moments, the audience is invited to step past what’s comfortable and into a more equitable space.
Directed by Season Lead Artistic Director James Ijames (a two-time Barrymore Award-Winning director), the Wilma’s production will be a Felliniesque blast of energy and insight.


Inclusive and Equitable Policies, Practices, and Procedures
The Wilma has continued to do the important work of creating new policies, practices, and procedures to make the organization more inclusive and equitable for artists, staff, and audiences.  Among the policies, practices, and procedures that the Wilma has begun or refined include:

  • Updated hiring practices: including salaries with all administrative postings, anonymizing resumes before review, and utilizing diverse resume readers from across the organization;
  • Hired an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer for Fat Ham, and pledged to continue hiring EDI Officers for future productions and a cultural liaison for Cherry Orchard;
  • Moved to a five-day rehearsal week and eliminated 10-out-of-12 rehearsals;
  • Upgraded the elevator;
  • Increased wheelchair and companion seating;
  • Provided captions and audio descriptions for digital programming;
  • Increased transparency with shared meeting minutes;
  • Refined a program to more formally engage with Wilma HotHouse Acting company members in areas outside of training and performance, adjusting compensation to offer consistent weekly payment for work in Literary, Marketing, Education, and Development departments; 
  • Increased transparency with shared meeting minutes;
  • Refined our practice for land and labor acknowledgements in rehearsals, meetings, and in digital show programs; and 
  • Partnered with Equity and Justice for Institutional Change (EJIC), holding regular all-staff, board, HotHouse, and affinity group meetings to codify organizational values and create a blueprint for the next steps.

Subscriptions and WilmaPass
Traditional season subscriptions and flexible WilmaPasses are currently available for the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wilmatheater.org.

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