Fatherhood and faith inspire new play by Dean Poynor at Ingram New Works Festival

The Second Avenue Subway Feature Photo

Photo by Rachel Overby.

Award-winning playwright Dean Poynor returns to Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Project after a successful residency in 2013-14. The only program of its kind in the city, the Ingram New Works Project brings extraordinary playwrights to Nashville to develop new plays alongside local artists. Poynor’s new play, The Second Avenue Subway, premieres in staged readings tonight as part of the Ingram New Works Festival at Nashville Children’s Theatre.

As the father of a young son, Poynor found himself struggling with how to pass on the good to his son while leaving behind the bad in an increasingly complex and messy world. His play The Second Avenue Subway tackles this question head on, following a father as he teaches his son about life, faith, and finding good in the world as they ride the New York City Subway together over many years. The answers come easily at first, but as the son grows up, the father is forced to reckon with the values he once took for granted.

“There are a lot of plays about family,” says Director of the Ingram New Works Project Nate Eppler, “but relatively few about parenting. Nashville Repertory Theatre and the Ingram New Works Project are excited to support the development of a new play about the unique challenges of parenting in this current moment.”

In addition to the Ingram New Works Project, the play has been supported by the Lipscomb University Department of Theatre. Beki Baker, Chair of Lipscomb University’s Department of Theatre, will direct the premiere staged reading.

Part of Poynor’s artistic mission is to bring his Christian faith into his cultural practice. “This play is about the idea of a shared good – be it the Subway, or a set of traditions and values – and our responsibility to take care of it.” says Poynor. “That includes the humility to appreciate it, the wisdom to question, and the courage to keep trying.”

For his work as a playwright, Poynor has been awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award, the Helford Prize, the Holland New Voices Playwright Award, and two Shubert Foundation fellowships. His play for the 2013-14 Ingram New Works Festival, Together We Are Making a Poem in Honor of Life, was a featured selection of this year’s New York International Fringe Festival.

Nashville audiences can be the first to see The Second Avenue Subway when it premieres at Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Festival tonight. The Festival runs through May 18. Visit nashvillerep.org for tickets, schedules, and more information.

Ingram New Works LogoAbout the Ingram New Works Project

The Ingram New Works Project is a nationally recognized new play development program designed to empower new voices in the American theatre with transformative support and expand the creative capacity of Nashville by connecting artists and audiences across extraordinary new works. The project was created with the support of co-founder Martha R. Ingram to provide an opportunity for theatre artists to develop new theatre works while in residency at Nashville Rep. Since 2009, the Ingram New Works Project has supported the development of over sixty new plays for the stage that have gone on to development, awards, and production across the United States. The continuing journey of each of those plays and playwrights is made possible through the early support of Nashville audiences and artists and the Ingram New Works Project.