Update – 3rd December – the broadcast dates for these plays has been postponed and new dates will be announced in due course.
This semester, UEA Drama brings to life the inspiring work of Pulitzer Prize award winner, Suzan-Lori Parks with a multimedia presentation of ‘365 Days’ performed in two halves, titled ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’.
As the world around us grows ever more unprecedented, UEA Theatre Productions explore themes of race, spirituality and the significance of history through the use of varying types of performance styles and media.
Beginning on November 13th in 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a play a day for a year, each with its own distinct style. ‘365 Days’ focuses on a wide variety of social issues, exploring the intricacies of humanity, specifically the African-American narrative and the wonder of making art, presented through various experiences and contemporary styles.
Rising to the challenges of the current uncertainties, UEA Drama present a selection of plays from ‘365 Days’ split over two performances with separate casts, utilising live theatre, radio and film. Parks’ provocative writing highlights its continuous relevance, especially when considering the Black Lives Matter movement and its high visibility in recent months.
Director James Robert Carson said, “Suzan-Lori Parks has created one of the most intriguing and profound theatre works of the 21st Century. She saw her project to write a play a day for a year as a form of spiritual practice. Working on the plays is itself like a form of spiritual practice. I find all religions and philosophies that enhance our view of the world are welcome in this uplifting epic. It is mysterious and mundane, concise and verbose, happy and sad, all at the same time. It delights, transports, questions, and challenges. Ultimately, it’s an uplifting and joyous celebration of life and the wonder of making art.”
This production presents the talent of the third year drama students of UEA, following in the footsteps of its accomplished alumni such as Greg James (BBC Radio 1), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Olivia Vinall (National Theatre Live: King Lear).
Suzan Lori-Parks was born in America but, due to her father’s military career, moved between countries several times. After graduating from Mount Holyoke college with a B.A in English and German literature, she was encouraged by her teacher, James Baldwin, to become a playwright. After beginning to write plays she then studied acting for a year at Drama Studio London in order to better understand the craft. In 2002, Suzan Lori-Parks became the first female African-American playwright to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize which she received for her play, ‘Topdog/Underdog’. Parks currently combines writing with teaching playwriting at Tisch School of the Arts.
James Robert Carson, Associate Professor at the University of East Anglia, has over 20 years of directing and professional acting experience with the likes of The Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Greek National Opera, Holland Park Opera, and the Aldeburgh Festival. He has worked for touring companies and directed commercial productions of Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo.
The performances will be presented to a small invited audience, but, subject to license an archive broadcast will be screened at 3pm and 7pm on Friday 4th and Saturday the 5th that will be accessible to UEA students and staff.
A play in two halves
Archive Performances (subject to license, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access information):
365 DAYS, Winter
4th December: 3pm
5th December: 7pm
365 DAYS, Summer
4th December: 7pm
5th December: 3pm