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Press Release: Pacific Playwrights Festival Reading of Covenant

Pacific Playwrights Festival Kicks Off April 26 With Covenant by York Walker

23rd Festival Includes Five New Works Streaming in April, May and June

COSTA MESA, Calif. (April 26, 2021)— South Coast Repertory’s (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) annual showcase of new plays by today’s hottest playwrights—the Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF)—kicks off April 26-May 2 with a digital reading of the folk-horror drama Covenant by York Walker, directed by Tamilla Woodard. The four remaining PPF readings will be released in May and June. The high-quality film productions of each reading, created with a multi-camera setup, capture the best qualities a traditional play reading. Packages to stream all five readings are $80 and single play-reading tickets are $19. Tickets are available online at www.scr.org.

Covenant follows blues guitarist Johnny “Honeycomb” James as he returns home to his small Georgia town. But rumors fly that James may have sold his soul to the devil to attain his musical genius. In this twisty drama, jealousy, distrust and superstition determine Honeycomb’s fate—even if the devil does play a part.

“The Pacific Playwright’s Festival celebrates ingenious writers, so it is fitting that we open the festival with York Walker’s Covenant,” said Artistic Director David Ivers. “York’s writing is inspired, powerful, rich in storytelling, adventurous and suspenseful. South Coast Repertory is thrilled to introduce his newest work to our audience and to the American theatre.”

Walker is an award-winning writer based in Harlem, New York. He is the inaugural recipient of the Vineyard Theatre's Colman Domingo Award, where he is currently an artist in residence. He is also a member of Marcus Gardley's New Wave Writer' Workshop. His work includes Holcomb & Hart (Victory Garden's New Plays For A New Year Festival) Asè (Harlem9, Harlem Stage and Lucille Lortel Theatre's Consequences digital series), The Séance (winner, John Singleton Short Film Competition, 48 Hours… in Harlem), Covenant (Fire This Time Festival, Access Theatre’s 4 Flights Up Festival, Arizona Theatre Company's Digital Play Series), White Shoes (Fire This Time Festival), Summer of ’63 (The Actors Company Theatre’s New TACTics Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Apprentice Reading Series) and Of Dreams To Come (American Conservatory Theatre’s New Work Series). York received his MFA in acting from American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

The cast for Covenant includes Toree Alexandre, Israel Erron Ford, Kwana Martinez, Ashley Denise Robinson and Akilah A. Walker. Stage directions are read by Nekia Renee Martin. Kathryn Davies is the stage manager and the dramaturg is John Glore.

2021 Pacific Playwrights Festival Lineup

Covenant
by York Walker
directed by Tamilla Woodard
dramaturg: John Glore
Streams: April 26-May 2
About this play: When he returns home to his small Georgia town, rumors fly that blues guitarist Johnny “Honeycomb” James may have sold his soul to the devil to attain his musical genius. But in this twisty folk-horror drama, jealousy, distrust and superstition determine Honeycomb’s fate—even if the devil does play a part.

Coleman ‘72
by Charlie Oh
directed by David Ivers
dramaturg: Andy Knight
Streams: May 10-May 16
About this play: A Korean American family piles into the Buick for an all-American road-trip: open plains, rickety camper-trailer, kimchi and banchan. But Korean parents and American kids hold conflicting ideas of what they’re looking for when the real purpose of their journey comes to light.

Park-e Laleh
by Shayan Lotfi
directed by Mike Donahue
dramaturg: Andy Knight
Streams: May 24-May 30
About this play: Amir seeks asylum in the UK after fleeing persecution in his native Iran, but he’s haunted by what he's left behind. Now he's attempting to settle in a city full of strangers—looking for anything or anyone that might allow him to finally feel at home.

Clean
by Christine Quintana
directed by Lisa Portes
dramaturg: Anna Jennings
Streams: May 31-June 6
About this play:Two women from different worlds meet in the fake paradise of a Mexican resort: Adriana, who works at the hotel, and Sarah, who's there for her sister’s wedding. Torrential rain, a father’s death and the mistakes of a night bring them together … but whatever they have in common, many cultural borders separate them.

Harold & Lillian
book & lyrics by Dan Collins music by Julianne Wick Davis
based on the documentary film by Daniel Raim
directed by Michael Greif
dramaturg: Jerry Patch
Streams: June 21-27
About this play: A musical about the Hollywood romance of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson. Beginning with their elopement after Harold came home from World War II, their marriage spanned six decades—during which they overcame daunting personal challenges and made surprising movie magic.

Bonus Video Features for the 2021 Festival

  • #PPFPlaywrights: An offshoot of SCR’s #Commissioned video series, this new video series features the five wordsmiths and one composer who contributed the work included in this year’s festival. Each interview will be available to stream, free, shortly before the release of the reading with which it's associated. Access the interview with Covenant playwright York Walker here: https://youtu.be/XeUKBBJ4ZgI
  • Samples From the Lab: Available for ticket purchasers, this exclusive video series features excerpts from commissions-in-process by Jane Bruce, Jessica Moss and Caroline V. McGraw. Videos will be released on May 6, May 20 and June 10.

Festival Ticket Information

A package to see all five digital readings is $80, single reading tickets are $19 and may be purchased online at www.scr.org or by phone at (714) 708-5555. SCR’s Box Office is open Mondays, noon-5 p.m., and Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More information is available at www.scr.org.

Created in 1998, the Pacific Playwrights Festival has grown into one of the leading festivals of new plays in the country and showcases some of the best new work on SCR’s radar. The festival offerings generate lively conversation, future world premieres and subsequent productions. The previous 22 festivals have introduced such award-winning plays as A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz, The Language Archive by Julia Cho and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers are Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Laurie and Steve Duncan, Kristen and Adrian Griggs, Samuel and Tammy Tang, and Linda and Tod White.

The 2021Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with generous support from The Shubert Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth George Foundation.

The long-term success of PPF is greatly assisted by The Cripe Eberhard Drachman Family Endowment, The Yvonne and Damien Jordan Endowment, The Jean and Tim Weiss Next Generation Endowment and The Tod and Linda White Pacific Playwrights Festival Endowment.

South Coast Repertory’s health and safety protocol has been developed with advice from the University of California, Irvine.

Complete information is available at www.scr.org.

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY:  Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The [email protected]—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers. Of SCR’s more than 500 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org

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