Throughout the fall semester, Oakland University’s Department of Theatre will present New Voices Rise Up!, a virtual play reading series featuring local artists, students, and award-winning playwrights.

“In response to the social injustices over the past six months, the Department of Theatre has collaborated with local artists to bring a diverse schedule of contemporary plays and musicals to OU,” said Anthony Guest, associate professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre at OU. “We have chosen stories that reflect the American experience from voices too long ignored.”

The series will kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22 with “Recommended: You Would Like This,” a play written and performed by OU students Aurora Batton, Emily Nichter, Jai Carrero, Kaye Hoffmeyer, Kenny Hong, Maren Valdes, and Olivia Kiefer.

The play explores what happens when three YouTubers are pitted against each other and are forced to confront Cancel Culture in in our new world while looking back to the past as a source of inspiration for healing. It is being directed by Emilio Rodriguez, artistic director of the Black and Brown Theatre in Detroit.

On Thursday, Nov. 11, the series will continue at 7 p.m. with “Appropriate,” a play written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Brandon A. Wright, a special lecturer for theatre at Oakland University. Wright is a two-time Broadway World Detroit nominee with Michigan Shakespeare festival and Flint Repertory Theatre among his Michigan Theatre credits. Most recently, he performed the role of Harpo in the national tour of The Color Purple.

The third play in the series, “Days of Rage,” is a new play directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Josh Young. Inspired by the activities of The Weathermen/Weather Underground Organization and The Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s, “Days of Rage” captures the passion and conviction of that turbulent era.

Featuring book and music by Hyeyoung Kim and lyrics by Shoshanna Greenberg, “Days of Rage” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The fall series will conclude at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 with a virtual play reading of “Blood at the Root,” a play written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Billicia Hines, associate professor of theatre and director of the Black Theatre Program at Wayne State University.

In addition to “Blood at the Root,” Hines has also directed “Mr. Joy,” “Resisting,” “A Song for Coretta,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Harriet Jacobs,” “Meet Vera Stark,” “Colored Museum,” “Venus,” and many others.

All of the plays will be performed remotely and each event will have a live community or panel discussion.

The livestream is free, but an RSVP is required to box office manager Megan Herald at You will be emailed a link prior to the performance date.

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