NNPN Rolling World Premiere Productions of BUILDING THE WALL by Robert Schenkkan Open at Borderlands Theater and City Theatre

Sep 21, 2017

Washington, D.C. - National New Play Network, the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, celebrates the opening of the Rolling World Premiere (RWP) of Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan at Core Member Borderlands Theater (Tucson, AZ, September 27-October 15, 2017) and Associate Member City Theatre (Miami, FL, September 30-October 8, 2017). The RWP kicked off at NNPN Core Member Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles, CA, March 18-August 27, 2017), where it was extended for 14 weeks, and continued at Core Member Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO, April 4-19, 2017) and Associate Member Forum Theatre (April 27-May 7, Washington, DC; May 19-27, 2017, Silver Spring, MD).

NNPN provides production support to the playwright and the partnering theaters, including assistance with the creation and the contracting of the premiere agreement, collaborative interactions between the theaters, and funds for the playwright's residency in each city to further develop the play.

Critical acclaim for Building the Wall:

Building the Wall should be seen and shuddered over, if only to heighten our collective vigilance…The theater historically has provided a forum for citizens to contemplate the agonizing issues of the day, and it’s heartening to see Schenkkan and the Fountain respond with such celerity to present dangers.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

“A passionate, angry two-hander, the play is a warning, a wake-up call, an incendiary device tossed into the center of a drowsy room.” – Juliet Wittman, Westword

“The play is flawed but furious, and this ultrafast dramatic response sets a constructive precedent for writers, producers and audiences.” – Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post


It’s the very near future, and the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. Now, a writer interviews the supervisor of a private prison as he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated into the unimaginable. This riveting, harrowing and illuminating drama delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how when personal accountability is denied, what seems inconceivable becomes inevitable.


In 2014, All The Way, Part One of his “LBJ Plays,” won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League, Kennedy Prize, and the ATCA/Steinberg Awards for Best Play and broke two Broadway box office records. Robert has since adapted All The Way as a feature film for HBO, produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Bryan Cranston. Robert’s previous Broadway experience was the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic, The Kentucky Cycle, which also won the LA Drama Critics Award, and was nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, and the Outer Critics’ Circle Awards. Other plays include Hanussen (2017 Denver Summit Theater Festival),Shadowplay, Lewis and Clark Reach the EuphratesBy the Rivers of Babylon, Handler, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, Final Passages, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Dream Thief, A Single Shard, and The Great Society. Part Two of the LBJ Plays, anticipated in New York in 2018. His musical, The Twelve, had its world premiere in Denver in 2015 and won the Henry Award for Best New Play/Musical. Films: Hacksaw Ridge (2016. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards); The Quiet American. Television: Robert was nominated for two Emmys and won a WGA Award for his work on the HBO/Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg miniseries, The Pacific. Other television work includes: The Andromeda Strain, Crazy Horse, and Spartacus. robertschenkkan.com


The Fountain Theatre is one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles, providing a creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists. The Fountain has won over 225 awards, and Fountain projects have been seen across the U.S. and internationally. Recent highlights include being honored for its acclaimed 25th Anniversary Season in 2015 by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council; the 2014 Ovation Award for Best Season and the 2014 BEST Award for overall excellence from the Biller Foundation; the inclusion of the Fountain’s Citizen: An American Lyric in Center Theatre Group’s upcoming Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; and the naming of seven Fountain productions in a row as “Critic's Choice” in the Los Angeles Times. fountaintheatre.com


The mission of Curious Theatre Company is to engage the community in important contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre. Now celebrating 20 years of bringing thought-provoking theatre to Denver, Curious Theatre Company’s rich history showcases our commitment to playwrights with gutsy things to say. Over the last ten years, 66% of Curious plays have been written by playwrights of color, LGBTQ playwrights, or female playwrights – an unparalleled distinction in our region. We are proud to produce plays that challenge and enrich our lives through different viewpoints and storytelling styles. Curious has been named Best Theatre Season by Westword seven times and was honored four times with Best Year by a Theatre Company by the former Denver Post Ovation Awards. Our incredible Company and the artists who work with us have earned hundreds of awards through their tireless effort to bring relevant, contemporary theatre to the Front Range. “No guts, no story” embodies the ethos of Curious Theatre Company. Established in 1997 by a vanguard Artistic Company that has since grown to 27 professional actors, designers, and directors at its core, Curious brings the best new theatre to Denver, producing thought-provoking plays designed to challenge ideas, stir emotions, and leave audiences thinking and talking for days. curioustheatre.org


Forum Theatre produces adventurous, relevant, and challenging plays from a diversity of voices that inspire discussion and build community -- and that are accessible, affordable, and entertaining. Since Forum Theatre’s inception, it has aimed to be both the home for stories that provoke discussion and the place to host that discussion. Forum’s plays are a conversation with the audience, and they tell stories about who we are as a local, national, and global community. forum-theatre.org


Borderlands Theater is a professional theater company recognized nationally and internationally for the development and production of theater and educational programs that reflect the diverse voices of the U.S./ Mexico border region. Its mission is to champion the development and production of new plays while producing plays by established playwrights whose work resonates with the diversity of its audiences; partnering with regional civic organizations to foster diversity in play development and productions; and producing diverse and quality programs for youth. borderlandstheater.org


City Theatre is an award-winning professional theater company founded in Miami, FL in 1996, that is dedicated to the development and production of new works, and programming that entertains, informs and resonates with its diverse audiences. It is the only theatre in the nation producing ten minute plays and musicals year round and for all ages, including its signature SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVALS featuring work by well-known and exciting new writers culled from its City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contests, SHORTS GONE WILD featuring original LGBTQ plays by regional and national playwrights, the CITY SHORTS “Best of the Fest” winter regional tour into local community venues, and the SHORT CUTS in-school tour bringing original commissioned work to 25,000 students annually. City Theatre is unique in South Florida for its long standing commitment towards playwrights and their educational and professional development, including its reading series  designed to inform and invest audiences in the process of new play development; the NextGen Project; a student mentoring initiative to identify and support the Next Generations of South Florida playwrights; and CityWrights, a year-round series of workshops, readings, panels and a Weekend Convening bringing together regional and national dramatists and theatre industry leaders for artistic collaboration and professional opportunities.  City Theatre selects opportunities to produce full length plays it feels are timely, exciting and impactful to its community and audiences.  In 2016, City Theatre was honored by the Carbonell Committee with the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award, which recognizes significant contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, for the company’s dedication to the short form play and fostering new play development. citytheatre.com