National New Play Network Adds Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company and Perseverance Theatre to Core Membership

Jul 1, 2015

Washington, D.C. - The NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK (NNPN), the country's alliance of non-profit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, has added its 30th and 31st Core Members: Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company (San Diego, CA) andPerseverance Theatre (Anchorage and Juneau, AK). The decisions were made by the organization's Board of Directors at its Annual Conference on June 11 in Watertown, MA, hosted by Core Member New Repertory Theatre.

Vice President and Membership Committee Chair Jack Reuler (Artistic Director, Mixed Blood Theatre) says, “As the NNPN aims to expand its geographic and aesthetic reach, its Membership Committee welcomed applications from two such stellar organizations as Perseverance and Mo`olelo after years of courting. The vetting process of these two and others was extensive and the votes - by Membership Committee, Executive Committee, and full Board - were unanimous.”

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company (MPAC) is a community-focused, socially-conscious, theater company, that creates new theatrical works, produces contemporary playwrights, and educates youth in all aspects of theater production.  The company’s vision is to transform the landscape of American theater by diversifying whose stories are told, for whom, by whom, with a social-justice consciousness to empower communities that are traditionally underrepresented in mainstream theater. Mo`olelo’s values center on the interdependent relationship between peoples and the planet we share. Mo`olelo utilizes Consensus Organizing methods in an effort to build relationships and bridges between people; and is an innovator in Green Theatre using eco-friendly practices in our production process.

From Mo`olelo’s Artistic Director, Lydia Fort: “I am thrilled that Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company is becoming a core member of NNPN! At MPAC, we focus on telling socially-conscious stories and work to diversify both who is telling the stories and the audiences that view them. We are especially inclined toward new plays and collaboration with underrepresented populations, and aim to generate dialogue and promote civic transformation, so this partnership with NNPN feels like a natural fit.  This opportunity puts MPAC on the front lines of supporting playwrights in the national conversation of inclusion and diversity in the American theater.  We are proud to be joining an impressive roster of theaters doing themost exciting work across the US."

Perseverance Theatre’s mission is to create professional theater by and for Alaskans. Perseverance values community engagement, cross-cultural collaboration, professional rigor, and regional voice. The theatre was founded in 1979 by Molly Smith and today is led by Executive Artistic Director, Art Rotch. PT was born in Juneau—the state’s capital and a growing community of over 32,000 only accessible by plane or boat. Thirty-five years later, the theatre has grown into Alaska’s largest professional theatre, serving over 25,000 students, and audiences annually. In the 2014-2015 season, Perseverance Theatre produced musical, contemporary, and world premiere productions in Juneau and Anchorage. PT is also growing its education and training programs for youth and adults, providing learning opportunities on the Juneau stage, and as the resident theatre at the University of Alaska Southeast. Currently in its fourth decade, Perseverance Theatre is in the midst of several new projects that are aimed at furthering the mission of creating professional theater by and for Alaskans. The 2014-2015 season is the first year that Perseverance is produced a full 5-show package in both Juneau and Anchorage, greatly expanding the audience and artists served. In the summer of 2014, the theatre launched a pilot project called Summerfest, offering three plays for Juneau locals and visitors during the tourist season. Through these endeavors, the theatre plans to eventually reach more than 25,000 audience members, changing both the reach and business model of the theatre.

“All of us at Perseverance, (board, artists, staff and community) are thrilled to be part of the National New Play Network’s efforts to support and develop contemporary playwrights. Alaska is a great place for writers to work, and audiences appreciate the chance to see their own stories on stage, as well as connect with the work of theatre artists outside Alaska. We are honored to be included as a new core member of the network, and we know this will help us to bring the best in current American plays to our Alaskan audience, as well as provide a new tool to connect our writers in Alaska to the wider world of American theatre. We look forward to many productive years bringing more great new theatre to our communities in Alaska,” says Art Rotch, Perseverance Theatre’s Artistic Director.