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Burning Coal Theatre Company Announces Its 2015-16 Season!


Burning Coal Theatre Company of Raleigh, NC announces its 2015/2016 season of plays. In its 19th season, the theatre, housed in the historic Murphy School auditorium at 224 Polk Street, will host the Brooklyn based Only Child Aerial Theatre’s Production of Asylum created by Nicki Miller and Kendall Rileigh and directed by Nicki Miller (October 15 – November 1, 2015), The Wiz by William F Brown, Charles Smalls and Luther Vandross, directed by Randolph Curtis Rand (December 3 – December 20, 2015), The US premier of Blue Sky by Clare Bayley, directed by Gus Heagerty and co-produced by CAM/Raleigh (January 28 – February 14, 2016 at CAM/Raleigh), and the American premier of Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall, the writer of Billy Elliot, directed by Jerome Davis (April 7 – April 24, 2016).

Burning Coal’s Second Stage Series, Wait Til You See This, will include three hot plays about science, psychology and the human mind. The plays will run in repertory in June 2016. The titles have not been announced but the three companies will be Koffee Dance Theatre, a primarily African American dance company under the direction of Avis Hatcher-Puzzo and Cirque du Vol, Raleigh’s professional aerial training and performance company.   Burning Coal will be the third performance company in the series.  Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm.  All tickets for all performances will be $10 and will be available by calling 919.834.4001 or visiting us online at

Individual or season ticket subscriptions may be purchased by calling 919.834.4001 or by visiting


Burning Coal is teaming up with Brooklyn-based Only Child Aerial Theatre to present this piece performed largely in the air. Asylum is set in the mid-1970’s when there was a mass closing of psychiatric hospitals across the United States. It tells the story of four patients and a nurse who are inextricably connected through the crumbling Asylum. This show is a mixture of devised theatre and aerial choreography. The show will feature four performers from Only Child Aerial and three local professional actors.

Only Child Aerial began in 2010 when Nicki Miller and Kendall Rileigh started to combine their loves of circus and theatre to explore a new theatrical genre. Before coming to Burning Coal Theatre Company Asylum received a Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Grant in 2014 and presented an early, shorter draft of this aerial piece at The Muse Brooklyn.

If you liked Burning Coal’s Henry V on trapeze you are going to love Asylum.


Join Burning Coal for one of America’s most beloved musicals. The Wiz is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African American culture. The story follows Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow as they ease on down the road to find what is waiting for them over the rainbow. The original Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Dorothy, a farm girl from Kansas who wants to see more of the world, is transported by a tornado to the magical world of Munchkins, witches, and the yellow brick road. On her way to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz who she believes can help get her back home to Kansas, she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion –who help her battle the Wicked Witch of the West.

The director, Randolph Curtis Rand, has previously directed To Kill a Mockingbird starred as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha at Burning Coal.  Randy is a member of the NYC-based collaborative Elevator Repair Service, has worked with the Wooster Group, the Public Theatre, and The Drama Dept. in NYC.


“Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat… great fun.”

– The New York Post


British playwright Clare Bayley’s Blue Sky is a funny and troubling play about a photographer who inadvertently snaps a picture of something he shouldn’t have. The play is based on a true story and deals with one of the darkest episodes in recent US history. Set in 2003 during the time the US and UK forces invade Iraq, the story follows Jane, an investigative journalist who looks up an old flame, Ray, in the hopes of getting a lead on a big story she is pursuing.  Blue Sky will be directed by Gus Heagerty and coproduced by Cam/Raleigh. The performances will take place at Cam/Raleigh and is a US premiere.

Clare Bayley is an award-wining playwright based in London who writes for theatre, radio, film and television. Her other plays include The Container, The Woman Who Swallowed a Pin, The Shift and Blavatsky.

Gush Heagerty, the director of Blue Sky, is a theatre-maker and director based in Washington D.C. He has worked with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Folger Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, American Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, among others.


Lee Hall, the author of Billy Elliot, brings us the story of a 12-year-old autistic girl, attempting to navigate the perilous waters of modern day life while dealing with an even more catastrophic, life threatening illness. At each performance, different members of our community will ‘play’ Spoonface with the support of live sung music drawn from the cannon associated with Maria Callas. Burning Coal Artistic Director, Jerome Davis, will direct the play.

Spoonface was the final play of four on BBC’s Radio 4 titled God’s Country, a series of radio dramas in 1997. Due to popular demand it was repeated on BBC Radio 4 the next day and went on to sell thousands of copies on tape. The stage version, adapted by Hall himself, was first performed in 2000.  This production will be a US premiere.



Spoonface Steinberg is an amazement.” –Financial Times

For further information about the 2015/2016 season at Burning Coal Theatre Company, please call us at 919. 834.4002 or visit us online at

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Burning Coal Theatre Company is one of Raleigh’s intimate, professional theatres. Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 © (3)] organization. Burning Coal’s mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and international artists available. We work toward a theatre of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.

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