U.Va.'s Department of Drama to Present 'Vinegar Tom'

February 08, 2012

February 8, 2012 — The Department of Drama in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences kicks off its spring semester offerings on Feb. 16 with "Vinegar Tom," presented in the Helms Theatre.

Written by celebrated British playwright Caryl Churchill, "Vinegar Tom" uses the backdrop of the 17th-century witch trials to highlight the ongoing struggles for acceptance and equality faced by women. Originally penned amid the women's rights movement of the 1970s, Churchill's story invites us to ask tough questions about our own roles in the discrimination we encounter – or even participate in.

"Vinegar Tom," directed by Seattle-based director John Vreeke, will be presented Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 21-25 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $14 ($12 for seniors and U.Va. faculty, staff and U.Va. Alumni Association members; $8 for students) and available online here, by calling 434-924-3376, or in person on weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. at the U.Va. Arts Box Office in the lobby of the Culbreth Theatre building. A $3.75 processing fee will be applied to online or phone orders.

"'Vinegar Tom' is a gripping account of fear and prejudice made all the more riveting in this production thanks in no small measure to the contemporary musical compositions of Michael Rasbury," Tom Bloom, chair of Department of Drama, said.

Rasbury, who teaches sound design at U.Va., composed all original music to accompany Churchill's lyrics, working with both students and local musicians to infuse the play with heightened musical energy. "Rasbury's work offers a fresh spin on the play's glimpse into one of history's most prejudiced societies," Bloom said.

Director Vreeke's most recent work includes "A Bright New Boise," which premiered this fall at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

"Opportunities to engage with and learn from theater professionals outside the U.Va. community are vital to our students' training and give our audiences a fresh new perspective and a unique theatre experience," Bloom said.

The 2011-12 season will continue in March with "Elephant's Graveyard," written by George Brant and directed by Richard Warner. It comes to the Culbreth Theatre March 21-24, at 8 p.m. Free parking for all performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the Drama Building. For information on the 2011-12 U.Va. Department of Drama season, visit here.

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Joyce Carman

Assistant Director of Development Jefferson Scholars Foundation