New and Diverse Voices Take Center Stage at Texas Theatre and Dance


Courtesy of Texas Theatre and Dance

The upcoming 2022/2023 Season at the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin (Texas Theatre and Dance) celebrates new and diverse voices for the stage through a series of electrifying new plays and innovative works of choreography.

Opening the season is JuCoby Johnson’s …but you could’ve held my hand; a story of sexuality, gender, race, blackness and love. This intimate look at the imprints others leave on our lives utilizes poetry, dance and music to tell the story of four ten-year-old’s who meet at a wedding, not knowing what they would come to mean to one another. “The thing that most excites me about bringing this production to the UT and Austin community is that this is a radically different play than I think audiences are used to,” shares director and M.F.A. candidate Braxton Rae. “This play centers on black wholeness and tells a new, compelling story. I’m excited for the audience members who will finally see themselves and their identities represented on stage in a fair, beautiful way.” This intimate exploration of life’s ups and downs takes the stage at the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre October 6-16.

Continuing in this season’s spirit of innovative and creative works, Justine Gelfman’s In Sisters We Trust, or My F*cked Up American Girl Doll Play brings to life the much-beloved American Girl Dolls in a Bachelor-style reunion. Suddenly, the girls start to disappear, something glitches and we’re thrown into a glossy feminist co-working space on the brink of expansion. A witty, pointedly funny exploration of corporate feminism and empowerment, In Sisters We Trust, or My F*cked Up American Girl Doll Play, brings this historically inaccurate story of $80 dolls to life on the B.Iden Payne stage October 20-29.

Concluding the fall programming, the students of Dance Repertory Theatre take the stage in Fall For Dance, a poignant blend of new and revived choreography that explores what Pan-African, street, contemporary and technology-based movement forms have to say to one another and what we, the audience, can learn by listening. This stunning array of interdisciplinary art features performances by faculty members Erica “eg” Gionfriddo (ARCOS Dance), Leah Cox (American Dance Festival) and Joel Valentín-Martínez, as well as guest choreographers Teena Marie Custer (Get Down Gang, Venus Fly), Kevin Ormby (National Ballet of Canada) and work by emerging undergraduate choreographers.

As the spring begins, a new semester welcomes the return of the annual presentation of UTNT (UT New Theatre), a celebration of newly-developed works from playwrights from Texas Theatre and Dance and the Michener Center for Writers. This showcase, begun by former faculty member and esteemed playwright Steven Dietz in 2007, serves as an incubator for new work, with many plays continuing on to be professionally produced across the country. Under the guidance of faculty members and co-producing artistic directors KJ Sanchez (American Records) and Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw (Rude Mechs), this year’s UTNT (UT New Theatre) features works by Justine Gelfman, Zac Ezer and Daphne Silbiger, whose visions become reality on the Oscar G. Brockett stage February 18-26.

Following this showcase of new plays comes an exploration of new choreography and movement in Dance Repertory Theatre’s EMERGE. Reflecting on history in order to imagine a way forward, EMERGE examines themes of emergence through elevating the inventiveness and interconnectivity of moving art forms. Each piece featured has been developed in a residency-style incubator, allowing for immersion with a single choreographer in a depth of research where the future of dance is given space to grow. “EMERGE feels like a vibrant celebration of being able to share space across communities,” share faculty member Erica “eg” Gionfriddo (ARCOS) and Gesel Mason (No Boundaries), head of the dance area. “We are thrilled to share new works by graduate students and invited guests including the directors of Brooklyn-based dance theatre collective Michiyaya Dance and Israeli choreographer Ido Tadmor, whose work will celebrate the return of the Haruka Weiser Commission in honor of her memory.”

Continuing in the ongoing revelry of the “new,” the season culminates in the return of the biennial Cohen New Works Festival; a spectacle featuring new, bold, risk-taking, future-thinking, cutting-edge, no-holds-barred, original performance. The festival, open to students from all corners of the 40 Acres, spanning multiple disciplines, skill sets and areas of study, is not just an event, but a celebration of the continuously ongoing process of creating new work. From installations to dance, performances to sculpture, this week-long presentation of over 30 new student works, taking place in various locations across campus April 3-7, 2023, represents a continuous spirit of creativity, innovation and community.

Audiences are invited to see what’s coming to the stage by visiting