A Streetcar Named Desire


Trustus Theatre Changes Thigpen Main Stage Into a Round Orientation, and Presents 20th Century Classic A Streetcar Named Desire in a thrilling production

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Trustus Theatre puts a new twist on one of America’s most iconic plays, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, when it opens on their Main Stage this February. The Main Stage has been converted into a round orientation, meaning that audiences will discover a more intimate, deeper connection with a play that they may already be familiar with. A Streetcar Named Desire will open up on Trustus Theatre’s Main Stage on Friday, February 7, and will run through Saturday, February 22. Soda City Brass Band will play a special concert from 7:30-8pm on Opening Night to celebrate this inaugural production in the round. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org, or by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732. A Streetcar Named Desire is sponsored by Richland Sertoma Club.

This classic Tennessee Williams show came to the Thigpen Main Stage in 2002 and returns in celebration of the theatre’s 35th Anniversary season. One of the most renowned plays of the American theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire introduces audiences to Blanche DuBois, a schoolteacher from Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans and takes a streetcar named “Desire” to the French Quarter, where her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, live barely above squalor. Blanche’s affections of refinement set her immediately at odds with blue-collar Stanley, who is further incensed when he learns his wife’s aristocratic inheritance—the family estate—has been forfeited to creditors. Believing that Blanche has sold the estate for personal profit and is swindling Stella and Stanley from sharing in the proceeds, Stanley disdains and demeans Blanche, who fights back in the only way she knows: with her genteel charm. The Kowalskis’s Elysian Fields apartment becomes a pressure cooker of sensuality and class tensions, until ultimately erupting in some of the most iconic dramatic moments seen on the 20th Century stage. Trustus Theatre’s production will expose the visceral nature of the play, and show the piece’s relevance in the 21st Century.

A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was written by playwright Tennessee Williams. It will be directed by Trustus Company Member, Patrick Michael Kelly, who starred in the play as the Young Collector/Doctor when the play was originally performed at Trustus Theatre in 2002.

A Streetcar Named Desire is a classic for many reasons,” said Kelly. “It has iconic characters and memorable lines, but it also possesses timeless themes. Both Blanche and Stanley play the role of the outsider, each character an alien to the other, both striving to be seen and heard, fighting to keep their power and to control the other. Their conflict speaks to our common collective failure to truly communicate with and understand each other, choosing instead to label and belittle each other in order to preserve our fragile sense of self. This play could be set at any time and place in America. Luckily, for audiences, Williams wrote it in the luxurious setting of New Orleans in the 1940s.”

This play will feature Burke Brown as Stanley Kowalski, Marybeth Gorman as Blanche DuBois, Brittany Hammock as Stella Kowalski, Jon Whit as Steve Hubbell, Shirley McGuinness as Eunice Hubbell, Tashera Pravato as Three Women, Paul Smith as A Young Collector/Doctor, and Jason Stokes as Harold Mitchell (Mitch). Hammock, Whit, and Stokes are Trustus Company Members.

Burke Brown, who plays Stanley, is a guest artists in residency, and he comes to Columbia by way of Atlanta.

“Oftentimes audiences have seen Stanley as the villain of A Streetcar Named Desire,” said Brown. “As humans, it’s easy for us to slap a label on someone or even ourselves as all good or all bad. But in reality, we’re full of paradoxes and Stanley is no exception. I think he’s experienced a lot of trauma and is constantly seeking to distract and numb himself from his pain. On the surface, the themes of violence towards women, misogyny, and substance abuse are things that many of us can still relate to 70 years after the play originally debuted. But even deeper are the effects of trauma and how they manifest in our relations with others. This is one of the most iconic American plays and it’s messages still ring true, maybe even more today.”

Trustus Theatre is bringing a new look to the first three plays of 2020 and they have converted the Thigpen Main Stage into a round orientation. A Streetcar Named Desire will be the first one to be presented in this arena-style staging, which allows for audiences to converge on the play from all sides. Audiences will be immersed in these stories and will be able to more deeply connect with the performers as a new level of intimacy comes to the Main Stage.

“Audiences should catch A Streetcar Named Desire because it’s doubly vital as a history lesson and a hard look in the mirror,” said Kelly. “Our production in particular is exciting due to the creative use of space—experiencing this classic in the round promises for an exceptional and intimate experience with one of American theatre’s most iconic stories. The round setting allows for visceral realism in the acting, and we have a stellar cast featuring some of the very best actors from Columbia and the region bringing their all to this beast of a play. A Streetcar Named Desire is a thriller and our production delivers.”

A Streetcar Named Desire will run from Friday, February 7 through Saturday, February 22, 2020, and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at trustus.org. Opening night is Friday, February 7, at 8pm. The performances following are on Saturday, February 8, at 8pm; Sunday, February 9, at 3pm; Thursday, February 13th, at 8pm; Friday, February 14, at 8pm; Saturday, February 15, at 8pm; Sunday, February 16, at 3pm; Wednesday, February 19, at 8pm; Thursday, February 20, at 8pm; Friday, February 21, at 8pm; and Saturday, February 22, at 8pm.

Trustus Theatre believes that ticket prices shouldn’t keep theatre-lovers from being able to experience great professional theatre. This is why they offer one I.P.W.I.C. (I Pay What I Can) matinee on the first Sunday of each non-musical run. For A Streetcar Named Desire, the I.P.W.I.C. matinee is Sunday, February 9, at 3pm. Based on availability, tickets can be purchased for a donation of $1 and they are available on a first come, first served basis one hour prior to curtain at the box office window. Patrons wishing to guarantee seats are still able to reserve preferred seating for those performances at the regular matinee ticket price.

This Main Stage production is sponsored by Richland Sertoma Club.


We Are Proud To Present


Trustus Theatre welcomes the revival of Coker College’s stirring production of We Are Proud to Present […]

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In preparation for presenting the 2019 Pulitzer Winner Fairview, Trustus Theatre is partnering with Coker College to revive their stirring production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915—an earlier work by Fairview playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. This limited run production will be presented by Coker College and will be on Trustus Theatre’s Side Door Theatre stage January 16-18, 2020. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org, or by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732.

A group of actors gather to tell the little-known story of the first genocide of the 20th century. We Are Proud to Present […] takes place largely in a rehearsal room that descends from collaborative to absurd as a group of idealistic actors attempt to recreate the extinction of the Herero tribe at the hands of their German colonizers. Along the way, they test the limits of empathy as their own stories, subjectivities, assumptions, and prejudices catalyze their theatrical process. Eventually the full force of a horrific past crashes into the good intentions of the present, and what seemed a faraway place and time comes all too close to home.

We Are Proud to Present […], written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, will be directed by Coker College’s Assistant Professor of Theatre, Andrew Schwartz. The play will be presented by Coker College and will include five actors making their debut at Trustus Theatre: Kamian McClain, Matt Hicks, Isaiah Washington, Amber Coulter, and Chevez Smith. Tristan Pack returns to the Side Door after appearing in the critically acclaimed production of HIR in Season 33. All six are current Coker College students who are either majoring or minoring in theatre and have performed the play before at Coker College.

“Jackie Sibblies Drury, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama last year for Fairview, is one of the most exciting new playwrights to emerge in the last 20 years,” said Schwartz. “Her plays are fearless, bold, and they ask really difficult questions about race, but they also have a wonderful humility and We Are Proud to Present […] in particular is really funny. I promise, this show is not a history lesson. This ensemble is super talented and they work beautifully together. I guarantee that it will be an evening of theatre that will stick with you long after the show is over. It is unlike any play you have ever seen before.

“There are a lot of powerful and uncomfortable ideas that are touched on in the production that I think will resonate differently for different people. The play asks really difficult questions and like most great plays, it doesn’t provide answers. But some of the questions she asks in the play include: who has the right to tell who’s story? What is the role of theatre in addressing historical atrocities? How do you overcome personal bias when devising a universal message? The full title of the play feels overwhelming and probably intimidating, but audiences shouldn’t be afraid. It is the opposite of stuffy and these young actors will inspire and give you a show that you will never forget.”

Trustus Theatre Artistic Director, Chad Henderson, is excited to collaborate with Coker College to bring this production to the Side Door Theatre this January.

“Jackie Sibblies Drury is one of America’s most important contemporary playwrights,” said Henderson. “Her Pulitzer Prize winning play, Fairview, is coming to Trustus Theatre’s main stage in April. We wanted to offer Columbia audiences a primer of her thoughtful, poignant, and inventive work. Hosting Coker College’s revival production of We Are Proud to Present […] is a great opportunity for Trustus to introduce Drury’s cannon to Columbia, and to introduce audiences to an excellent troupe of young performers.”

We Are Proud to Present […] will run from Thursday, January 16 through Saturday, January 18, 2020 and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at trustus.org. Opening night is Thursday, January 16, at 8pm. The performances following are on Friday, January 17, at 8pm and Saturday, January 18, at 2pm and 8pm.