EXPAND THE CANON Staged Reading Series

Curated By Sharon McCune

Throughout our 25th Anniversary Season, we are delighted to present a thrilling cycle of six staged readings, penned by playwrights that reflect the global multicultural fabric that is our common existence. These readings are performed without a set, lights, or costumes: just the actor and the words on the page. We believe these stories, focusing specifically on the perspectives of women, People of Color, and underrepresented genders, will not only entertain, but challenge and inspire you to learn more about the themes and playwrights presented.
All staged readings are presented FREE to the public. Space is limited – reservations required.

Readings are performed in Levy Hall at Rodef Shalom (across from WQED Pittsburgh). 
4905 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Upcoming Readings

by Susanna Centlivre

Sunday, May 8, 2022 | 2pm & 7pm
Directed by Elena Alexandratos


Set in 18th century England, Susanna Centlivre’s satirical comedy tells the story of a military officer who wants to marry Miss Anne Lovely, but is met with a formidable obstacle – four guardians who have their own idea of an ideal husband. Our playwright pokes fun at all the stereotypes of the time, expressing her unabashed support of the Whigs, criticizing the Tories, and fearlessly sending up the business of marriage, commerce, fashion, academia and religion. This title was included in Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre's 2020 reading list.  

Past Readings

by James DeVita

November 21, 2021
Directed by Robin Walsh

London. Early 1600’s during the plague. The theaters have all been closed. Six of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters – Sir John Falstaff, Mistress Quickly, Othello, Cleopatra, Juliet, and a messenger – out of sorts (and out of work), meet up at The Boar’s Head Tavern to ruminate, commiserate, and celebrate life, love, friendship, the pandemic, their author, and the state of the world. A quick-witted comedy for any Shakespeare enthusiast.

Starring: Alan Stanford*, Chris Laitta*, Cynthia Dallas, Callee Miles*, Lamar K. Cheston*, and Trevor McQueen*
Stage Management by Heather Ankley*

by Drew Hayden Taylor

December 12, 2021
Directed by Vanessa VIvas

Based on real-life events in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region, COTTAGERS & INDIANS infuses contemporary conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous sensivilities with Drew Hayden Taylor’s warmth and humour.

Starring: Amy Landis* and Ernest Briggs*
Stage Management by Karen Baum*

by May Sumbwanyambe

January 23, 2022
Directed by Linda Haston

Africa is changing, country by country. Inspired by real events in Zimbabwe, this debut play is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession, and justice in a post-colonial world.

Starring: Wali Jamal, Cotter Smith*, Robin Walsh*, and Erika Strasburg*
Stage Management by Amelia Heastings*
Cultural Consultant & Dialect Coach: Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe

RACHEL by Angelina Weld Grimke

Sunday, February 27, 2022 
Directed by Raecine Singletary

Black love and Black joy are on display in this 1916 classic by Angelina Weld Grimke. An unforgettable piece, this story centers around Rachel, a young Black woman in the American South, who wonders if it wise to bring children into a world rife with the bigotry and racism that has touched her family and community firsthand.

Starring: Hope Anthony*, Linda Haston*, Michael Cook, Tim Judah, Saige Smith*, Jordan Threatt, and Shakirah Stephens
Stage Management by Amy Hotovchin*
Intimacy Direction by Joy DeMichelle

What is “Expanding the Canon?"

“Expanding the Canon” is a concept first introduced by Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre located in Brooklyn, New York, in 2020, that is “both a celebration and a call to action" to present the oft-overlooked work of women and gender non-binary playwrights in the classical canon.  Their premiere annual reading list was compiled from over 600 (and growing) under/never produced new and existing playwrights.

Keeping within the PICT mission of “exploring current social issues through the lens of classic text,” our Expand the Canon cycle is an intentional continuation of that effort: to present the perspectives of those who have been consciously omitted from the theater; specifically women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and underrepresented genders.

By exploring the definition of “classic” and the optics through which these stories are told, we can begin to contemplate a new understanding of not only our shared humanity but also progress the conversation regarding the future of our theatrical landscape. We hope you join us for this exciting series!


City Paper: “PICT Classic Theatre includes new, marginalized voices with Expand the Canon reading series” By Amanda Waltz