Athol Fugard started working in the late 1950´s with a group of actors in Johannesburg, including Zakes Mokae, who were influenced by Strasberg´s method acting. Fugard wrote his first play No Good Friday, which was performed in The Rehearsal Room. In the early 1960´s Fugard returned to Port Elizabeth and worked with The Serpent Players). Fugard’s attacks on Apartheid brought him into direct conflict with the South African government. After his play Blood Knot (1961) was produced in England, the government withdrew his passport for four years. His support in 1962 of an international boycott against the South African practice of segregating theatre audiences led to further restrictions. The restrictions were relaxed somewhat in 1971, when he was allowed to travel to England to direct his play “Boesman and Lena” (1969). “A Lesson from Aloes” won the 1980 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. “Master Harold . . . and the Boys” (1982) premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre and then was taken to Broadway. Fugard has appeared as an actor in several international films, including “Meetings with Remarkable Men” (1979), “Ghandi” (1982), and “The Killing Fields” (1984). Interestingly, the well-known US actor Danny Glover has acted in numerous Fugard plays: “The Island”, “Sizwe Bansi Is Dead”, “Blood Knot” and “Master Harold . . . and the Boys”. Fugard’s plays have been regularly premiered in fringe theatres in South Africa, London (The Royal Court Theatre) and New York. The varying styles of his plays can be roughly split up into periods: Apprenticeship (up to 1957), Social Realism (1958 to1961), Chamber Theatre (1961 to 1970), Improvised Theatre (1966-1973) and Poetic Symbolism (1975 onwards).
Ryan Rilette is entering his seventh season as Artistic Director of Round House, where he directed Angels in America Part II: Perestroika by Tony Kushner, The Night Alive by Conor McPherson, This by Melissa James Gibson and How to Write a New Book for the Bible by Bill Cain. Prior to joining Round House, he served as Producing Director of Marin Theatre Company for five years. For MTC, he has directed the world premieres of Bellwether by Steve Yockey and Magic Forest Farm by Zayd Dohrn. He also directed God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza; Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire; Boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb; and In The Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the first part of The Brother Sister Plays Trilogy, which MTC co-produced with American Conservatory Theatre and Magic Theater, and which was named “the theatrical event of the year” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to joining MTC, Rilette served as Producing Artistic Director of Southern Rep Theatre, the leading professional theater in New Orleans, from 2002 to 2007. At Southern Rep, he directed the world premieres of The House of Plunder by Jim Fitzmorris, The Vulgar Soul by John Biguenet, and The Sunken Living Room by David Caudle; and the regional premieres of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, In Walks Ed by Keith Glover, and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire. He also commissioned, developed, and directed two plays about Hurricane Katrina and its effect on the region: Rising Water by John Biguenet and The Breach by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Catherine Filloux, and Joe Sutton. Rilette is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company, the immediate past president of the National New Play Network, and a former professor at Tulane and Loyola universities in New Orleans. He earned his MFA in Acting from American Conservatory Theatre.
The Round House Theatre Teen Performance Program is a pre-professional program for the next generation of theater artists. Round House gathers the region’s most creative young theater artists and provides mentorship to them as they work on a play at our theater. Students selected shadow productions on the RHT stage, attend events and master classes with RHT company members, and work closely with professional artists and practitioners at every step of the process.
The program culminates in The Sarah Metzger Memorial Play which is directed, designed, stage managed, and performed by high school students. The Sarah Play was established by the Metzger family and friends to celebrate the memory of Sarah Metzger, an inspiring and active member of the theatre community, who was killed in an automobile accident during her freshman year of college.
Matthew Lopez is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most widely produced new American plays of the last several years. The play premiered at Luna Stage in Montclair, NJ and debuted in New York at Manhattan Theatre Club. That production was directed by Doug Hughes and starred Andre Braugher. The sold-out production extended four times, ultimately running 101 performances off-Broadway and garnering Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards. Matthew was awarded the John Gassner New Play Award from the New York Outer Critics Circle for the play. Since then, it has been received over 40 productions worldwide. His play Somewhere has been produced at the Old Globe, TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and most recently at Hartford Stage Company, where his play Reverberation will receive its world premiere in 2015. His newest play, The Legend of Georgia McBride, premiered earlier this year at the Denver Theatre Center for the Performing Arts. His play The Sentinels premiered in London at Headlong Theatre Company in 2011. Matthew currently holds new play commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Hartford Stage, and South Coast Rep. Matthew was a staff writer on HBO’s “The Newsroom” and is currently adapting Javier Marias’ trilogy “Your Face Tomorrow” for the screen.
Tom Story returns to Round House after appearing in Angels in America, Next Fall and Seminar. He is an Affiliated Artist at Shakespeare Theatre where credits include The Winter’s Tale, The Government Inspector, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Henry V, Design for Living, Major Barbara, The Rivals, Measure for Measure. Other DC credits include: Three Men in a Boat at Synetic Theater; The Book Club Play and Oliver at Arena Stage; Our Town, Sabrina Fair, A Christmas Carol, 1776, and The Glass Menagerie at Ford’s Theatre; The Book Club Play, The Glass Menagerie, Amadeus, Secret Lives of the Sexists, The Heidi Chronicles, The Misanthrope, Moby Dick–Rehearsed, Camelot, Life’s a Dream, Design for Living (director) at Berkshire Theatre Festival; POP!, The Wolfe Twins, Legends!, The Invention of Love, Prometheus, The York Realist, Ivanov, A Number, The Pillowman, The Rocky Horror Show, Silence! The Musical, Moth (director), and Terminus (director) at Studio Theatre; The School for Scandal, Henry IV Part 1 at Folger Theatre; Eugene O’Neill Theater Center; McCarter Theatre Center; Kansas City Repertory; Northern Stage; Great Lakes Theater Festival; Seattle Repertory Theatre. Awards: 6 Helen Hayes Award nominations; Fox Foundation Fellowship. Training: Duke University; The Juilliard School.