The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts has established a new partnership with Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective as the company in residence, beginning in September.
The local nonprofit theater company will kick off its 2019-20 season at the Tina McGuire Theatre, the Wortham Center’s new black-box venue with tiered seating for 80-100 people.
Since its inception in 2010, Different Strokes! has primarily produced performances at The BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street, but, in recent years, the company’s popularity prompted its need for a larger space.
“We are excited to engage with new audiences and to continue the dialogue surrounding our urgent need to embrace, understand, and fully accept one another,” said Stephanie Hickling Beckman, managing artistic director at Different Strokes! “As a company in residence, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective looks forward to maintaining the integrity of our mission, artistic independence and centralized ticket sales at affordable pricing, while introducing reserved seating, season pass availability, increased exposure, greater potential for community partnerships and an expanded production season.”
Different Strokes! has established a reputation around Asheville for producing provocative and entertaining theatre. Part of its mission is to advance and sustain equity within the western North Carolina performing arts community by producing works that confront social challenges and by donating a portion of ticket sales to local nonprofits working to advance equity, further education, or improve the lives of Asheville citizens.
Hickling Beckman continued, “Among our many core beliefs, we believe the arts can be a catalyst for social change and transformation. Our shows will make you think, and they might make you laugh or cry. They may challenge your perspectives or uncover potential biases—and they certainly will make you happy to have seen outstanding theatre.”
This residency partnership was made possible by the expansion of Diana Wortham Theatre, currently in the midst of its transformation from a single-stage entity to a three-venue performing arts complex. The new Wortham Center for the Performing Arts—comprising the Diana Wortham Theatre, the Tina McGuire Theatre and the Henry LaBrun Studio—will open in September 2019 to coincide with the Wortham Center’s Mainstage Season.
“A resident theatre company is a first for our organization, and we’re thrilled to embark on this new project with Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective,” said Jared McEntire, community engagement director at the Wortham Center. “Overall, we hope that the facility expansion provides local performing artists the opportunity to reach new heights, connect with new audiences, and benefit from new artistic opportunities.”
Upon opening, all three Wortham Center spaces will be available for community event rental opportunities, from music and theatre to workshops and conferences.
The Different Strokes! season begins with The Education of Ted Harris by Jamie Knox (Sept. 12-28), followed by Mixed Fandango by Travis Lowe (Nov. 7-23), Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrance McNally (March 26-April 11, 2020), and Frozen by Bryony Lavery (June 6-20, 2020).
For more information, please visit differentstrokespac.org.