Theater Emory Announces 2019-2020 Season

August 26, 2019

ATLANTA—Theater Emory’s upcoming season features works that “fracture reality” for the audience. The season theme revolves around how truth and reality are broken down and defined in our daily lives.

Theater Emory opens the fall season with a live reading of Homer’s “The Iliad,” a free, three-day event Sept. 13 – 15, presented with the Michael C. Carlos Museum and sponsored by Georgia Public Broadcasting. 26 readers perform the story of “raging anger and its human toll,” including some of Atlanta’s finest actors, local radio personalities, and Emory faculty and students. The reading presented in Ackerman Hall at the Carlos Museum will include all 24 books of the epic poem using Stanley Lombardo’s translation.

The season continues Sept. 27 and 28 with a guest presentation of feminist rap-cabaret performance artist, Boyfriend, along with her band and dancers for a special weekend of free shows in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater. Boyfriend is a writer, singer, producer, and choreographer whose live show news outlet Gambit describes as, "as much cone-bra arena-sized Madonna as it is an intimate hilariously profane psychosexual drama."

The fall closes with Theater Emory’s production of “The Nether,” written by Jennifer Haley and directed by Ibi Owolabi, performing Nov. 1 - 17 in the Theater Lab at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination. This performance includes mature content.

Brent Glenn, Artistic Director for Theater Emory, explains, "’The Nether’ questions the way that we define something as "real", an idea that has fascinated philosophers for millennia. As we approach a time where virtual reality may be as real as our daily lives, a lot of ethical conundrums rise to the surface, some of which make us extremely uncomfortable. ‘The Nether’ forces us to face those questions, that discomfort. It's a rare play that can have this type of impact in only 75 minutes."

The spring semester begins with Brave New Works 2020, The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory’s biennial festival of new work including “4:48,” featuring alumni writing four plays in 48 hours, along with work by playwriting fellows, guests, and students. These free readings perform Jan. 28 - Feb. 16 in the Theater Lab at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

Joseph Skibell’s “Wooden Nickels,” originally featured as a reading in Brave New Works 2018, is now presented as a full production directed by Tim McDonough in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater, Feb. 26 - March 1. In “Wooden Nickels,” two brothers tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin, Jack Tiger, as they travel to a chicken farm in upstate New York where all of Tiger’s worldly possessions have been stored. This show is, “funny, sad, and painful,” says Skibell. “As a writer, I’ve been plumbing the depth of my family’s history, and I found myself especially attracted to the relatives who didn’t quite fit in.”

The spring shows continue with “Beckett Shorts” performing March 25 - 29 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater. This evening of three short pieces by Samuel Beckett includes Carolyn Cook directing “Krapp’s Last Tape” and Rockaby,” featuring Emory Professor Emeritus Brenda Bynum, as well as student Peter Buzzerio directing an all-student cast in “All That Fall.”

The season closes with free performances of two all-student projects workshopped and developed throughout the year. The first is a site-specific spring show created and directed by Emory Faculty Caitlin Hargraves in collaboration with Emory students. The devised work is inspired by source material “Mine-Haha, or On the Bodily Education of Young Girls” by Frank Wedekind and performs April 2 - 11 in a unique, off-campus location to be announced soon.

Brent Glenn directs the second work, “Edinburgh Fringe Project,” featuring an all-student cast. This original Emory creation premieres on April 17 at the Mary Gray Monroe Theater and April 18 at Tarbutton Performing Arts Center at Oxford College of Emory University. The show then travels to the 2020 International Collegiate Theatre Festival as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Tickets for Theater Emory’s 2019-2020 season are on sale now through the Schwartz Center Box Office. Ticketed events this season include “The Nether,” “Wooden Nickels,” and “Beckett Shorts.” Reservations for free events will be available at one month prior to each performance. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made at least 24 hours in advance of the event to the box office at 404-727-5050 or by email at For additional information, visit


Theater Emory

Theater Emory is the professional producing organization in residence at Emory University. It operates under a season agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Liberal arts undergraduates work with professional directors, actors, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, choreographers, composers, music directors, and stage managers.