SLAC Kicks Off First NPSS Festival Highlighting BIPOC Artists


“Daddy Issues” Promotional Image (Courtesy of Salt Lake Acting Company).

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


The Salt Lake Acting Company has announced their first-ever New Play Sounding Series Festival. SLAC’s “New Play Sounding Series” was founded in 1994, making it the longest-running series of its kind in Utah. Though this year’s season has been moved to a virtual format because of the pandemic, SLAC has adapted and found success with the virtual format during previous productions — which inspired them to virtually host the NPSS Festival this season. 

The festival builds on SLAC’s commitment to supporting Black Lives Matter and features original works directed or written by BIPOC individuals. The company is also committed to a focus on diverse casting for the festival, emphasizing the importance of bringing diversity to the American theatre scene as a whole. 

“For nearly 30 years, SLAC has presented cutting-edge works by burgeoning playwrights through its New Play Sounding Series. But for too long, the voices of so many in our BIPOC communities have been silenced by systemic oppression in the American theatre,” said Executive Artistic Director Cynthia Fleming in a statement regarding the production’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. “SLAC is committed to playing its part in implementing meaningful and lasting change. It is in this spirit that we present our first ever NPSS Festival. Each of these three plays is written and directed by some of the most promising voices the American theatre has to offer.”


The series opened on Monday, Jan. 25 with a virtual screening of recent University of Utah graduate Kimi Handa Brown’s “DADDY ISSUES.” The play tells a compelling story of four college girls who navigate their experiences with the men in their lives while forming closer bonds with each other and themselves when other’s opinions seem to matter more than their own. The production was directed by Summer L. Williams, an Associate Artistic Director at Company One Theatre in Boston.

“This whole experience is a dream come true. Salt Lake Acting Company has provided me with the best environment to learn and grow. This also feels like a second chance for ‘DADDY ISSUES,’ which will be nurtured in a professional setting with wonderful working artists,” said Brown in promotion of the show. “I have loved being able to work on this play in its many iterations, especially during a time when theater is scarce.”

The cast of “DADDY ISSUES” includes Brynn Duncan (Daphne), Helena Goei (Jade), Eva Merrill (Bridget), Nadia Sine (Laney), and Matthew Rudolph (Jackson). Other members include Francisca Da Silveira as the dramaturg, Sammee Jackman reading stage directions, and Jennie Sant as the stage manager.

Festival Details

The festival will run through February and March, featuring two additional works directed and written by BIPOC individuals. The performance details will be announced as the opening dates draw closer. All performances in the NPSS Festival are virtual and free to the public. Information regarding future performances and links to attend screenings can be found on the NPSS Festival page of the Salt Lake Acting Company website.


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