SEPTEMBER 27 - 30, 2018

 

Overview

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival presents the works of Tennessee Williams, often world premieres, in plays, film, dance, live music, and performance art. We have presented shows from around the world and from different parts of America. We also present new works inspired by Williams.

The history-making Festival takes place each year in September, two weeks before Columbus Day, in a fishing village at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  In 1940, 1941, 1944 and 1947, Williams spent fertile summers in Provincetown falling in love and writing prodigiously, including plays that would become enduring world classics:  The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Provincetown is now a popular summer tourist destination. In the autumn the weather is still warm, the light turns noticeably blue, creating the perfect marriage of distinctive settings and stunning performances to enliven the cultural and economic vitality of the town.  

Origins 

The Williams-Provincetown connection is so strong that in 2006, noted theater director and Williams scholar, David Kaplan, founded the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival with a group of theater professionals and community members. With Kaplan as its curator, the Festival is now a non-profit organization led by festival director Jef Hall-Flavin and a 9-member board of directors.

Vision

Advancing the spirit of Tennessee Williams through performance.

Mission

We honor Tennessee Williams by presenting his classic and undiscovered plays, the work of his peers, and new work inspired by Williams’ creative vision worldwide. The Festival contributes to the cultural wealth of Provincetown by celebrating Williams’ connection to Cape Cod, his evolving international importance and his avant-garde spirit.

 

History

Each year the Festival events advance a theme:

2016 brought audiences into the rule-bending theater of Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill. Both titans of the American theater, Williams and O'Neill experienced extended periods in which their work was under-appreciated or misunderstood. The time had come to look again at the thought-provoking plays of these two extraordinary writers who help to define American identity, in productions including The Hairy Ape and Small Craft Warnings.

2015: Year Tenn was a celebration of our first decade in Provincetown, with highlights from previous years, like Williams’ endearing and autobiographical "The Parade," alongside a reading of a new play by the renowned playwright John Guare.

2014 expanded our understanding of Williams by focusing on his Circle of Friends. Four Tennessee Williams plays were presented together with those of four of his friends: Yukio Mishima, William Inge, Jane Bowles, and Carson McCullers.

2013 celebrated “Tennessee Williams and Women,” featuring formidable Williams’ Women Maggie the Cat from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', Sissy Goforth in "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore", and Myrtle from "Kingdom of Earth."

2012 focused on "Tennessee Williams and Music," inspired by the famous quote from The Glass Menagerie, "In memory, everything seems to happen to music."

2011 marked the Centennial of Williams’ birth, and the Festival celebrated 100 years of America’s great playwright with some of his most biographical plays, including the rarely- seen Something Cloudy, Something Clear, which was performed on the beach.

“Under the Influence” was the 2010 focus, where Williams’ work was complemented by plays, poetry, film and art that inspired him, as well as new work inspired by Williams.

In 2009, the Festival examined “The Fight for Life” with groups from New Zealand, Norway, and all over the U.S., responding to the challenge that theater – to survive as a force for life and art – must be passionate, powerful and disciplined.

In 2008 the focus was "Tennessee Williams and the Healing Power of Love," with two world premiere plays: Green Eyes, and The Dog Enchanted by the Divine View.

The 2007 Festival concentrated on avant-garde texts Williams wrote after turning sixty, including the world premiere of Sunburst and erotic performance artist Julie Atlas Muz.

In our first year, 2006, the theme "Tennessee Williams in P’town" featured the world premiere of Williams' 1940 gay romance The Parade and the Hong Kong Repertory Theater's Cantonese Eccentricities of a Nightingale. 

 

Innovation

Performances take place in many venues, from the local theaters to the high school auditorium, as well as unconventional places like hotel rooms, storefronts, churches, porches, or the wharf jutting out into the picturesque harbor. Like a magnet for creativity, Williams is the catalyst for many new works, and new viewpoints on existing plays.

As a result, the Festival is now known for its innovation, and for polishing and premiering undiscovered treasures (having premiered nine unknown Williams plays since 2006). With the focus clearly on the text – or on the music or dance – the Festival performances don’t just inform Williams’ significant body of work, they add to it.

 

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