New Theater Opens in Durham with a Unique Approach


By Kathleen O’Rawe Clabby

The Bartlett Theater is not your typical theater – it is the only theater in the Southeast to explore and perform the works of just ONE playwright each season. Founding Artistic Director Jonathan Bohun Brady adds “In the five play season, we will do three plays by them, one play by a playwright that influenced them and one play by a playwright that they influenced. That way you can see how they are interconnected and how theater changes with each new voice.” In the future they hope to explore the works of Eugene O’Neill, Tony Kushner, Sam Shephard and David Mamet to name a few.

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Maigan Kennedy and Chris Wright


The Theater is named after a man who is often credited as Durham’s founding father and first physician: Dr. Bartlett Leonidas Durham who lived on land that he eventually donated which is now the American Tobacco District. He was a jovial man known for storytelling, public singing, and occasional brawls. Like their namesake, the Bartlett Theater wants to be provocatively entertaining while caring deeply about the community.

For their inaugural production opening November 6, the Bartlett Theater chose an American Classic that is one of the most famous plays of the modern theater and one they feel will set a powerful precedent, Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

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Adam Poole and Shannon Malone

Rehearsals are currently at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham and the performances will be in the PSI Theater at the Durham Arts Council, while they are exploring options for a permanent home.

The Bartlett Theater will have auditions for each play throughout the ten-month season and are excited to tap into the robust community of talented performers that live in the area. Read more on their website.

Kathleen O’Rawe Clabby has been involved in the arts for most of her life as a performer, director, teacher and advocate. She’s most passionate about collaboration within the artist communities and advocating for arts in education.

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