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InterAct Theatre Company

Produced by Karen Smyles

July 2011

InterAct Theatre Company was founded in 1988 by Artistic Director, Seth Rozin. It aims to educate, as well as entertain its audiences, by producing world-class, thought-provoking productions, and by using theatre as a tool to foster positive social change in the school, the workplace and the community. Through its artistic and educational programs, InterAct seeks to make a significant contribution to the cultural life of Philadelphia and to the American theatre. InterAct strives to cultivate new voices for the theatre. The company believes in developing and producing important new plays that represent our time and place, and introducing new writers to local audiences. Friday Arts visited InterAct in December 2010 when they were preparing for the regional premiere of LIDLESS, written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and directed by Seth Rozin. We spoke with Rozin about the theatre's mission and the reasons behind their always socially relevant work. Local playwright, Thomas Gibbons also shared his views on why he believes InterAct has been so successful. Gibbons, who is white, also talked about why so many of his works surround issues that impact people of other races. We also meet and talk with 2 local actors who have been featured in InterAct productions for many years and who are among Philadelphias most successful theatre professionals.

Playwright profile: Thomas GibbonsEdited by Bill Hilferty
Thomas Gibbons (Playwright) has written numerous plays, including seven that have made their World Premiere at InterAct: PRETENDING TO AMERICA, 6221, AXIS SALLY, BLACK RUSSIAN, BEE-LUTHER-HATCHEE, PERMANENT COLLECTION, and A HOUSE WITH NO WALLS. Other plays include THE EXHIBITION and HOMER. His plays have been seen at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, off-off-Broadway at Blue Heron Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Florida Stage, Unicorn Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, New Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Aurora Theatre, and others. He is the recipient of seven playwriting fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a Roger L. Stevens Award from The Fund for New American Plays, two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play, an NAACP Theatre Award, a Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

 In this interview he talks about why so many of his works have focused on racial issues and events that have happened here in Philadelphia.  He also makes clear why he feels InterAct Theatre plays such an important role in the Theatre community.