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Wirtz Center announces online subscription package for fall

Three-play series includes ‘AntigoneNOW,’ ‘Call and Response’ and ‘Wine in the Wilderness’
Mayuko Agari in “AntigoneNOW.” Image courtesy of UC-Davis.

Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts today announced its fall 2020 lineup of virtual offerings. The three-play series includes a reading of Alice Childress’s civil rights era drama “Wine in the Wilderness,” an experimental adaptation of “Antigone” and an evening of student-created multidisciplinary works responding to the current moment.

“Our reimagined fall 2020 program offerings were artfully devised to provide audiences with engaging, inclusive and delightful performances throughout the fall – safely,” said Al Heartley, Wirtz Center managing director. “I believe these works will provide opportunities to reflect, to illuminate many voices and viewpoints, and to help us shine on during these socially distanced times.”

As an artist works to complete a painting representing African femininity, a riot is taking place on the streets. This is the setting for Alice Childress’ 1969 play, “Wine in the Wilderness,” which examines the intersection of race, gender and class. The acclaimed, but rarely performed work, will be presented Nov. 6-8 as the kickoff to “Visions and Voices,” a series of play readings of works by Black playwrights. MFA directing student Jasmin B. Gunter directs.

In the midst of a bombed-out city still feeling the aftershocks of war, the rebellious and intense Antigone defies her uncle to bury her disgraced brother. “AntigoneNOW” premiered in the Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival this summer. Devised from Seamus Haney’s powerful, modern prose adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy, the 20-minute filmed performance features an all-female, multilingual cast, and movement and choreography by Northwestern theatre faculty member Roger Ellis. The performance will be available on demand Nov. 12-19. A discussion with the artists follows the performance.

Rounding out the series is “Call and Response,” a program of two-minute multidisciplinary works by students responding to the Black Lives Matter protests, the pandemic and other current events. The showcase takes place Nov. 20-27.

“A hallmark of the Wirtz Center is collaboration, bringing people together, creating a sense of connection and sharing and reveling in the joy of the arts as a community. This hallmark endures and has been the beacon as we have reimagined our fall productions,” Heartley said.

Subscriptions to the three online works range from $15 (for full-time, non-NU students) to $30 (general public). Admission is free to current Northwestern students who complete the online registration form and have a valid University e-mail address. Tickets for individual shows are not available.

For more information or to purchase your ticket package for fall 2020, visit the Wirtz Center website. Questions? Please e-mail our audience service team at

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

For Journalists: view the news release for media contacts and assets