Town Hall

Town Hall

By Caridad Svich

In both structure and content, Caridad Svich’s script Town Hall overtly acknowledges that, in both the world of the characters and the world of the audience, we must admit to our togetherness. We must turn towards each other and listen in order to keep moving forward. Town Hall tackles so many urgent questions about our relationship to our environment, to other humans, and to democracy. It focuses on four people living in the near future, in a world different from but very similar to ours. Gathered in a plain room, these four characters search themselves and guide us in dreaming. They offer us brutally honest conversation, memories of joy, secrets of shame, and challenging questions to reimagine how we behave in the theatre and the world. Do we have any belief left in us to imagine a brighter future? Can we begin to form a plan for a better world? Town Hall questions how we are “us” and how we can move forward after all that has happened.

At Sam Houston, we’re especially proud to produce a series of student directed shows as part of our main season. The Directors’ Debut Series is a barebones approach to theatre which allows the student to hone their directing skills by telling the story as set down by the playwright through analysis and character creation with actors. Though minimally supported in the area of technical theatre and design, these productions are beautiful, imaginative and powerful. Student director faculty advisor, Patrick Pearson, Assistant Professor of Theatre says, “The Directors’ Debut series gives students with strong potential as directors the opportunity to find their voice and build their aesthetic as artists.  Especially given the restrictions Covid has placed upon productions this season, these talented student directors have met and exceeded every challenge thrown their way, exploring plays that deal with love, loss, potential, and the overall human condition.” The second of this spring’s Directors’ Debut Series will be presented via online live-streaming by Sam Houston State University’s Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre. Town Hall is directed by senior musical theatre major, Laurel Burrer and runs April 14, 16 and 17 at 7:30pm.

Meet the Cast

Sapphire Washington


Sapphire is a junior theatre major from Missouri City, Texas. This is her debut to the SHSU stage & screen. She is delighted to be a part of this production. At other institutions, she has appeared as Normal Jean and Miss Pat in The Colored Museum, Angel in Blues for an Alabama Sky, Nobody in DO NOT GO GENTLE, and William Henry Brown in The African Company presents Richard III. Upon graduation Sapphire plans to pursue a career in acting and activism.

Seb Cantu


Sebastian is a sophomore theatre major from San Antonio, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember them as one of the Servants in Pride & Prejudice and as the Assistant Stage Manager for Let Me Down Easy.  At other institutions, they have appeared as Dr. Slawkenburgius in The Mariner, Dewy Maples in The Diviners, and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Upon graduation, Seb plans to pursue a career in directing.

Aaron Piccirillo


Aaron is a junior theatre major from Cypress, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember his work as a member of the costume crew for A Macbeth and as an assistant stage manager for Silence.  At other institutions, he has appeared as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Willie in Abstract Expression and Frank in The Memory of Water. Upon graduation, Aaron plans to pursue a career in acting and directing.

Sarah Wolsky


Sarah is a sophomore theatre major from Spring, Texas. This is her debut to the SHSU stage & screen! She is delighted to be a part of this production. At other institutions, she has appeared as Miss Prism in The Importance of being Earnest, and as Alma Ward in Mother Hicks. Upon graduation, Sarah plans to pursue a career in acting.

Laurel Burrer


Laurel is a senior musical theatre major from Carrolton, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember her as Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins, Amber in Actually, Olive in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Jesus in Godspell and as Rusty in Footloose. At other institutions, she has appeared as an ensemble member and dance captain in Kiss Me Kate and as a member of the ensemble in The Music Man. Upon graduation, Laurel plans to pursue a career in musical theatre performance.

Phoebe Gillies

Stage Manager

Phoebe is a sophomore theatre major from Midlothian, Texas. Her SHSU credits include assistant stage manager for Pride & Prejudice. At other institutions, she has worked as a crew member for The Little Mermaid Jr., Grease and as the stage manager for Singin’ in the Rain. Upon graduation, Phoebe plans to pursue a career in stage management.

Dinah Ndu

Assistant Stage Manager

Dinah is a junior musical theatre major from Missouri City, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember her as Queen Margaret in Richard III, Farrah/Evil Gabbi/Gabbi She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, Miss de Bourgh in Pride & Prejudice.  At other institutions, she has appeared as King Arthur in Spamalot, Chick Boyle in Crimes of the Heart and as Clara Brown/Detective Biederman in Ghost: The Musical.  Upon graduation, Dinah plans to pursue a career in musical theatre and directing.

Trace Vaughn

Assistant Stage Manager

Trace is a junior theatre major from Sugar Land, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember him as Son of Clarence/Messenger 3/Page in Richard III. At other institutions, he has appeared as Hermes in Metamorphoses, Farby in R.U.R., and as Mr. Northbrook in Mary Poppins. Upon graduation, Trace plans to pursue a career in acting and playwrighting.

Katie Cox

Lighting Design

Katie is a junior theatre major from Georgetown, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember her as Jessie in Cry It Out and as an ensemble member in Sonnets for an Old Century. Other SHSU credits include, assistant to the lighting designer for Sweat, assistant stage manager for The Mountaintop, and costume crew for Everybody. At other institutions, she has appeared as Vera in She Kills Monsters, and Meg in Damn Yankees. Upon graduation, Katie plans to pursue a career in acting and directing.

Lexi Renfro

Costume Coordinator

Lexi is a senior theatre major from Plano, Texas. SHSU audiences may remember her work as the Costume Assistant for Richard III, the make-up & Costume Designer for She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, the properties designer for Pride & Prejudice, the lighting designer for Bright Half Life & Godspell, the assistant scenic designer for Our Lady of 121st Street, the scenic designer for The Wolves and Actually, and the assistant lighting designer/scenic dresser for The Diary of Anne Frank. Upon graduation, Lexi plans to pursue a career in properties, carpentry, and scenic art.

Ashley Fairchild

Scenic Design

Caridad Svich

Playwright/text-builder, theatre-maker, translator, lyricist, editor, educator,

Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based Isabel Allende’s novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the US and abroad, among them Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle Series, Denver Center Theatre, 59E59, The Women’s Project, Woodshed Collective @ McCarren Park Pool, Repertorio Espanol, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lighthouse Poole UK, Teatro Mori (Chile), Artheater-Cologne (Germany), Ilkhom Theater (Uzbekistan), Teatro Espressivo (Costa Rica), Welsh Fargo Stage (Wales), Homotopia Festival UK, SummerWorks festival in Toronto, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival/UK.

Key works in her repertoire include 12 Ophelias, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart, The Booth Variations, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, Any Place But Here, Archipelago, The Way of Water and JARMAN (all this maddening beauty). She has also adapted for the stage novels by Mario Vargas Llosa, Julia Alvarez and Jose Leon Sanchez, and has radically reconfigured works from Wedekind, Euripides, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. Her plays have been directed by Annie Castledine, Maria Irene Fornes, Lisa Peterson, Neel Keller, William Carden, Nick Philippou, Annie Dorsen, Katie Pearl, Stephen Wrentmore, Daniella Topol and Jose Zayas, among many others.

As founder of theatre alliance & press NoPassport ( her work has intersected with communities of multiple diversities with works responding to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US Gulf region, veterans and their families, survivors of trauma and those committed to artistic expression of precarity, advocacy for US Latin@ writing voices, and engagement with representations of the “fragile shores” in our lives. She is co-organizer and curator of After Orlando theatre action in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting with Missing Bolts Productions at DR2 Theatre in New York City, Finborough Theatre in London, Chaskis Theatre in London in association with Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Vaults and over sixty venues across the US; and Climate Change Theatre Action with The Arctic Cycle and Theatre Without Borders. She has also published over twenty titles with NoPassport Press by authors as diverse as Todd London, John Jesurun, David Greenspan, Carson Kreitzer, Rinde Eckert, Lenora Champagne and Octavio Solis.

Her works are published by TCG, Smith & Kraus, Playscripts, Broadway Play Publishing and

She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca as well as works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Julio Cortazar, Victor Rascon Banda, Antonio Buero Vallejo and contemporary works from Mexico, Cuba and Spain. She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists. She has received fellowships from Harvard/Radcliffe, NEA/TCG, PEW Charitable Trust, and California Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from UCSD, and she also trained for four consecutive years with Maria Irene Fornes in INTAR’s legendary HPRL Lab. She teaches creative writing and playwriting at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts. She has taught playwriting at Bard, Barnard, Bennington, Denison, Ohio State, ScriptWorks, UCSD, and Yale School of Drama. Website: