Different Strokes! to be ‘Company of Residence’ at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts

Press release from Diana Wortham Theatre:

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is excited to announce its partnership with new company in residence, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective.

The local nonprofit theatre company will begin its residency in September 2019, kicking off its 2019/2020 Season at the Tina McGuire Theatre, the Wortham Center’s new black-box venue with comfortable, convertible seating options for 80-100 people.

Since its inception in 2010, Different Strokes! has primarily produced performances at The BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street, but, in recent years, the company’s popularity prompted its need for a larger space.

“It is with great gratitude, relief and tremendous pride that we announce our partnership with Wortham Center for the Performing Arts,” said Stephanie Hickling Beckman, managing artistic director at Different Strokes! “As a company in residence, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective looks forward to maintaining the integrity of our mission, artistic independence and centralized ticket sales at affordable pricing, while introducing reserved seating, season pass availability, increased exposure, greater potential for community partnerships and an expanded production season.”

Over its last eight seasons, Different Strokes! has established a reputation around Asheville for producing provocative and entertaining theatre. Part of its mission is to increase and sustain opportunities for diversity within the Western North Carolina performing arts community by producing works that confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way and by providing opportunities for audiences to explore our diverse world.

This partnership was made possible by the expansion of Diana Wortham Theatre, currently in the midst of its transformation from a single-stage entity to a three-venue performing arts complex. The new Wortham Center for the Performing Arts — comprising the Diana Wortham Theatre, the Tina McGuire Theatre and the Henry LaBrun Studio — will open in September 2019 to coincide with the Wortham Center’s 2019/2020 Mainstage Season.

“We’re so excited to be able to share our new, expanded and improved space with Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective,” said Jared McEntire, community engagement director at the Wortham Center. “It’s our hope that, with the use of our infrastructure, we can help Different Strokes! and other local companies reach new heights, expand to new audiences and gain new opportunities.”

Upon opening, all three Wortham Center spaces will be available for community event rental opportunities, from music and theatre to workshops and conferences, for dates other than its scheduled Mainstage Series or Different Strokes! performances.

This season, due to its new partnership with the Wortham Center, Different Strokes! has expanded its selections from four to five productions, beginning with “The Education of Ted Harris” by Jamie Knox from Sept. 12-28. The season continues with “Mixed Fandango” by Travis Lowe from Nov. 7-23, “Love! Valour! Compassion!” by Terrance McNally from March 5-21, 2020, “Frozen” by Bryony Lavery from June 6-20, 2020, and “Church & State” by Jason Odell Williams from Aug. 6-22, 2020. To read more about each of these productions, visit differentstrokespac.org.

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts will officially open in September 2019 at 18 Biltmore Avenue. To obtain more information or to purchase tickets for upcoming shows and events, visit www.dwtheatre.com. To inquire about booking any portion of the theatre for a future event, contact Operations Manager Tiffany Santiago at 828-210-9850 or at tiffany@dwtheatre.com.

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Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

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