Theatre Prometheus to center asylum seekers and marginalized playwrights

For its 2021 season, the company is partnering with the DC Public Library and AsylumWorks.

Theatre Prometheus—following its “arresting, provocative, and hauntingly relevant” production of 14, José Casas’s play about immigration—has announced two new projects in 2021 highlighting its mission to explore and promote marginalized voices.

Partnering with the DC Public Library, Theatre Prometheus will launch Shifting the Spotlight, a virtual drama book club featuring plays written by queer, BIPOC, women, and other marginalized artists. The company will also partner with local nonprofit AsylumWorks for the first workshop of In Limbo, a devised show inspired by real stories of asylum seekers living in the DMV.

“This season marks the beginning of two new exciting partnerships, concentrating on sharing stories that are frequently overlooked by the theater community and society at large,” said Tracey Erbacher, artistic director. “Both programs focus on serving our community, highlighting stories that add a lens of humanity to the national conversations around race, privilege, and equity.”

The Shifting the Spotlight virtual drama book club will meet the third Thursday of each month beginning April 15, 2021, to explore a series of plays that are not included in the mainstream canon. The first meeting will feature Toussaint Louverture – The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, written in 1934 by Trinidadian author and historian C. L. R. James. It is groundbreaking in both its subject matter and performance history: it was the first play by a Black playwright and featuring Black actors to be performed in Britain and was presumed lost until 2005.

“The canon we’re taught of ‘important plays’ almost completely excludes narratives not written by white, cis-gendered, American playwrights, meaning we’re only getting half the story (at best),” said Erbacher. “Shifting the Spotlight seeks to uplight those voices and share their work with our community.”

In Limbo [working title] will be written and devised in collaboration with a team including a playwright, directors, and asylum seekers living in the DMV. In partnership with AsylumWorks, the company’s first devised production will bring together a series of monologues that explore the suspended reality of those living in a state of perpetual limbo. During a time of unprecedented attacks on U.S. asylum protection, the show will humanize the journey of asylum and uplift the individuals who seek safety from persecution.

Theatre Prometheus looks forward to sharing these stories with local audiences. Key dates to note:

  • Shifting the Spotlight’s first virtual meeting is scheduled for April 15. To learn more or to join the drama book club, please contact Anne Damtoft, Theatre Prometheus literary associate, at [email protected]. (DC Public Library cardholders can place a hold on Toussaint Louverture – The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History by clicking here.)
  • A sneak peek of In Limbo will take place on World Refugee Day, June 20, 2021.
  • A full Zoom workshop production of In Limbo will run in August of 2021. Tickets will be available to purchase in late spring/early summer, with 10 percent of proceeds donated to AsylumWorks.

Theatre Prometheus is a not-for-profit company producing classic and new works in Washington, DC. We share a goal of exploring and promoting feminist, queer, and diverse narratives. We believe in the power of local theater and are committed to providing opportunities to local artists and creating productions by and for the communities we live in.


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