University of Scranton Players Present Original Show “The Porches Project”

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The University of Scranton Players will be closing their 2018-19 season with the innovative, site-specific show “The Porches Project,” created by Jennifer Rhoads and University of Scranton Theater Program Director Hank Willenbrink, directed by Jennifer Rhoads. The show runs May 3-5 on porches of homes in the Historic Hill Section of Scranton. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances begin at 6 p.m. Friday’s performance corresponds with First Friday. Audiences will meet at Immaculate Conception Church at 6 p.m., and tour guides will lead the audience through the show’s planned route. Admission is limited to 50 per performance.

Much like a theatrical house tour, “The Porches Project” will take the audience on a series of guided paths through the Hill, stopping at residences to see a series of six original short plays written by University of Scranton students and alumni. The plays address a variety of subjects that have shaped the lives of past and present hill section residents, including the 1970s flushing of the mines, young sisters affected by the drug epidemic in the 2000s, the resettling of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees, and much more. Rhoads and Willenbrink spoke with Hill Section residents through community story gathering sessions and interviews to gather these true stories that the playwrights then used for the foundation of their plays.

This project was inspired by Jane Jacobs, a Scranton native and urban theorist, who emphasized the value of being engaged in your community. Jacobs originated the term “eyes on the street” and believed that the life of a community is dependent on having residents who are engaged and paying attention. “Porches” aims to do just that by connecting university members with its community roots through bringing audiences on a tour of the community while educating them about the community.

The production features Minori Koga, James Pennington, Catherine Karpiak, Kayla Oberholtzer, Ali Basalyga, Cara Charles, Ben McFadden, Emily DeMouth, Samantha Gurn, Myles Spencer, Julia Consiglio, Hannah Mackes, and Po-d Davidson. Basalyga is a graduate of West Scranton High School, Pennington is a graduate of Wyoming Area Secondary Center, Karpiak is a graduate of Wyoming Seminary, and Gurn is a graduate of Montrose High School.

Playwrights include Meg Sweeney, Alex Wasalinko, Minori Koga, Christine Wasylenko, Jade Williams and Nick Yanni. Sweeney and Yanni are graduates of Scranton Preparatory School, and Wasalinko and Williams are graduates of The University of Scranton.

If you have any questions, contact the Players box office at 570-941-4318 or visit us at Tour guides will lead the audience from location to location throughout the performances, and audience members will be given maps of the route. Admission is free but limited to 50 per performance. For physical disability accommodations, please call our box office or email

The University of Scranton Players is an academic theatre program that brings exceptional theatre to Northeastern Pennsylvania every season. The Players’ productions feature University of Scranton students in a mix of classical and contemporary works under the direction and mentorship of award-winning faculty and guest artists.

(Information from Victoria R. Pennington)

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