Diversionary Theatre's 4th Annual Spark Festival

An Online Streaming Audiocast, FREE to the Public
Also the musical The Boy Who Danced on Air is available for streaming until July 19

In response to Covid-19, Diversionary's annual Spark New Play Festival will be performed as audiocasts and offered exclusively on the Diversionary website. Readings of four fascinating contemporary works by exceptional playwrights never before performed in San Diego will be offered in audiocast form over a two month period. All audiocast readings are offered free to the public.

About this years Spark Festival, Executive Artistic Director, Matt M. Morrow says, "I'm thrilled to offer these challenging and thought-provoking new works to our community in this new form! We decided that the best way to honor these incredible new works was to offer them aurally, and keep the focus on the playwright's words. We hope our community will plug in their earbuds, sit back, and conjure these diverse and compelling stories in their vivid imaginations! "

The SPARK New Play Festival is generously sponsored by Bill & Judy Garrett.


Book & Lyrics by: CHARLIE SOHNE
Music by: TIM ROSSER
Directed by: TONY SPECIALE
Musical Direction by: CRIS O’BRYON
Choreography by: NEJLA Y. YATKIN

Streamable until July 19th
This brave and compelling new musical reveals the clandestine yet persistent tradition in Afghanistan of Bacha Bazi, where wealthy men purchase boys from poor families, train them as dancers, and parade them at parties as their property. Paiman and Feda have spent their young lives confined within this tradition. But when they meet by chance and develop feelings for one another, they embark on a journey towards a new life in uncharted territory. This astonishing contemporary fable reveals a country teetering on collapse, torn between yesterday and tomorrow, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.
The Boy Who Danced on Air is now available via stream at  https://www.diversionary.org/product/boystream/ 

About streaming the archival recording of the West Coast Premiere at Diversionary, Executive Artistic Director, Matt M. Morrow says, 
"I'm thrilled to welcome The Boy Who Danced On Air back to our community! It's been five years since its debut on our stage, and the work has only ripened with new relevance. In that time, author Charlie Sohne has won the prestigious Kleban Award, the highest honor in the American theatre for a librettist/lyricist. And composer Tim Rosser won the Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Original Score for our World Premiere. Even though it's virtual, it warms my heart to have them back at Diversionary, and to once again give life to their soaring and heart-rending tale of two Afghan boys falling in love against the backdrop of a shattered country. "

About the Plays of Spark Festival

Audio Streaming July 10 - July 23

The Haunting of the Homosexuals

By Katherine Harroff
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

Queer roomies Sadie and Paul have the greatest friendship any grad school student could ask for, except for one thing: they’re haunted. As paranormal activities escalate in their shared home, so does the emotional entanglement of the duo’s complicated relationship. Boldly illuminating the intersection of sexuality and friendship, this raucous new coming-of-age comedy will make you howl with laughter… and fright!

Audio Streaming July 24 - July 30 (one week only)

This Bitter Earth

By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by Kian Kline Chilton

Jesse is black. Neil is white. A Black Lives Matters protest and a shared love of poetry brought them together. But as the BLM movement rages outside their door, the very thing that brought Jesse and Neil together threatens to tear them apart. This time-hopping, intimate new love story asks, “What is the cost of standing on the sidelines?”

Audio Streaming August 7- August 20

Best Lesbian Erotica 1995

By Miranda Rose Hall
Directed by Kym Pappas

In this triptych of love, lust, and domestic terrorism, a joyous romp through lesbian erotic fiction collides with one of the darkest hours in U.S. history. This thrilling new play from the author of The Hour of Great Mercy and Plot Points in Our Sexual Development takes its audience to the heights of fantasy and the depths of horror to explore what it means to be American, and how we carry on after unimaginable loss.

Audio Streaming August 21 - September 3


By Sylvan Oswald
Director TBD

Part essay, part activist adventure-romance, Trainers follows a struggling writer who falls in with a group of queer revolutionaries in a not-too-distant dystopian future. Inspired by an essay by French philosopher Michel de Montaigne and his intellectual love affair with political thinker Etienne de la Boetie, Trainers investigates what it takes to evolve and challenge the politics of one's time.

About the Playwrights
KATHERINE HARROFF is an Arts Engagement Programs Manager with The Old Globe and a local playwright, director and sometimes actor. She developed the Community Voices playwriting program in 2012, and in 2016 she spearheaded the first coLAB workshop performance project. She is the Founding Director for the production company Circle Circle dot dot, and is a 2019 commissioned Playwright with The Old Globe.  
HARRISON DAVID RIVERS is the winner of the 2018 Relentless Award for his play the bandaged place (New York Stage & Film).
His produced plays include: When Last We Flew (GLAAD Media Award, NYFringe Excellence in Playwriting Award, NYFringe, Diversionary Theatre, TheatreLAB, Real Live Theatre), Sweet (AUDELCO nomination for Best Play, National Black Theatre), And She Would Stand Like This (20% Theatre Company, The Movement Theatre Company), Where Storms Are Born (Berkshire Theatre Award nomination for Best New Play, Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, Williamstown Theatre Festival), A Crack in the Sky (History Theatre), Five Points (MN Theatre Award for Exceptional New Work, Lavender Magazine citation for Outstanding New Playwriting, BroadwayWorld Minneapolis Award for Best New Work, Inclusion in MinnPost’s year-end “Best” List, Theatre Latte Da) This Bitter Earth (MN Theatre Award for Exceptional New Work, Lavender Magazine citation for Outstanding New Playwriting, Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Best Production, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Penumbra, About Face), To Let Go and Fall (Theatre Latte Da) and Broadbend, Arkansas (Transport Group/Public Theater).

Harrison was named a Runner-up for the 2018 Artist of the Year by the Star Tribune and a 2017 Artist of the Year by City Pages. He has received McKnight and Many Voices Jerome Fellowships, a Van Lier Fellowship, an Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship and residencies with the Bogliasco Foundation, the Siena Art Institute, the Hermitage and Duke University. Harrison was the 2016 Playwright-in-Residence at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Harrison is an alum of the Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group, Interstate 73, NAMT and The Lincoln Center Directors' Lab. He is a NYTW Usual Suspect and a member of the Playwright Center's Board of Directors.

MIRANDA ROSE HALL is a playwright from Baltimore, MD. Her plays include Plot Points in Our Sexual Development (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award in Drama), The Hour of Great Mercy (Diversionary Theater, 2019 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play), and The Kind Ones (upcoming Magic Theatre). She is currently under commission from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, and Playwrights Horizons SoundStage. She has developed her work with New York Theater Workshop, Baltimore Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, The Kennedy Center, Center Theater Group / We the Women, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Playwright's Realm, National New Play Network, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, EnGarde Arts, Provincetown Theater, Two River Theater, Cygnet Theater, Single Carrot Theatre, and the Orchard Project. She is a founding member of LubDub Theatre, a New York-based physical theater company.
SYLVAN OSWALD is an interdisciplinary artist originally from Philadelphia who creates plays, texts, publications, and video. His work uses metatheatricality and formal irreverence to explore the ways we construct our identities. Recent projects include the theatrical essay Trainers (Gate Theatre, London) and the performance text High Winds, based on the book of the same name he co-authored with graphic designer Jessica Fleischmann, now out from X Artists' Books. Sylvan’s lo-fi semi-improvised web series Outtakes starring Becca Blackwell and Zuzanna Szadkowski is hosted at weareopentv.com. His plays and collaborations include A Kind of Weather (Diversionary Theatre, San Diego), Sun Ra (Joe’s Pub, Jerome Travel and Study Grant, Soho Rep Writer-Director Lab), Profanity (Undermain Theater, Dallas; Soho Rep Dorothy Strelsin Fellowship), Nightlands (New Georges), Pony (About Face Theater, Chicago), and Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb). Honors include a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rosati Fellowship from Duke University Libraries, the Thom Thomas award from The Dramatists Guild, a Jerome Fellowship, and residencies at Sundance/Ucross, Macdowell Colony, and Yaddo. Sylvan is an assistant professor of playwriting at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, where, in Spring 2020, he is teaching a course called “Theater of Quarantine.” He is a member of CTG's Writers' Workshop, an affiliated artist at Clubbed Thumb and an alum of New Dramatists. 

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