SVGS to Showcase Contemporary Female Playwrights, Jan. 17-20 at ShenanArts

For centuries, women have been caught between practicality and their true passions. Do they conform to the expectations of society and familial duty, or do they follow their dreams? And is there ever a middle ground? The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Theatre Department presents two plays about women in very different time periods facing very similar challenges. Sense and Sensibility by Kate Hamill and Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson will run in repertory January 17-20 at ShenanArts. The two stories by and about women feature over 25 student actors and technicians from Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro high schools.

Performances run as follows:

Sense and Sensibility – Jan. 17 (Canceled due to weather) and 19 at 7:00 PM

Silent Sky – Jan. 18 at 7:00 PM and Jan. 20 at 3:00 PM

Tickets are $10 for all seats or $15 for a two-show package. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit Tickets will also be available at the door.

This evening’s production of “Sense and Sensibility” scheduled for Thursday, January 17 will be postponed to a later date due to inclement weather.  Please stay tuned for information regarding other weekend performances and rescheduled performances.  Thank you!

See local news articles featuring these performances!

News Virginian – “Female Playwrights Take Center Stage in Student Productions

Sense and Sensibility, by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen, shares the story of the Dashwood sisters Marianne and Elinor as they attempt to find love under the ever-watchful eyes of their Regency-era society. Gossip, heartbreak, scandal, and romance ensue as the ladies attempt to satisfy both their desires for happiness and the expectations of their peers. Directed by Cassy Maxton-Whitacre, Sense and Sensibility features Augusta Nafziger and Taeghan Duncan as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood with Kyle Fainter, Jake Morris, and Gabe Sheets as their charming love interests. The cast also includes Sarah Becker, Chloe Breeding, Grace Daughtrey, Catharine DeGolyer, Mary Margaret Elam, Miriam Gildea, Jenna Henline, Cassidy Lam, Maegan Parry, Alexandria Rush, Catherine Shearman, Paige Smith, Sophie Vandevander, Matt Wallace, and Ben White.


Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson, tells the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, who build the foundation for modern astronomy through her work at Harvard College Observatory in the early 1900’s. Although Henrietta and her fellow women “computers” are forbidden to even touch the telescope and are relegated to cataloguing the brightness of the stars, Henrietta’s observations soon lead her to the groundbreaking discovery of how to measure the distance to faraway galaxies. This inspiring script follows Henrietta as she attempts to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the chance for romance. Under the direction of guest artist Diane Cale Stewart, Silent Sky features Trinity Obaugh as Henrietta with Alice Cormier, Alex Heller, Emma Houseknecht, and Mattie Tindall making up the rest of the ensemble.

Playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Kate Hamill both appear on American Theatre Magazine’s Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights for 2017-18, with Gunderson at the top of the list. The SVGS Theatre Department is proud to bring these fresh and contemporary female voices to the ShenanArts stage.

Both shows are recommended for ages 10 and up. The productions include lighting design by Cori McDaniel, and costume design by Dawn Davis, Kate Delaney, Donna Morris, Susan Polly, and Susan Vass.

Sense and Sensibility and Silent Sky are presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

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