A festival of devised work centering on the loose theme of politics from across the southeastern United States and beyond.

Check out our Politheatrics Blog and tweet about the Politheatrics festival with the hashtag #politheatrics.

What’s that Cost:
The Federal Budget and You

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Performed by Haymaker

The United States Federal Budget takes your money, divides it up unfairly, and then spends that hard- earned cash on frivolous things like missiles and food stamps. The United States Federal Budget connects you to me, responds to the needs of 313 million Americans, and remembers your grandparents’ greatest fears. The 2011 United States Federal Budget reported taking in $2.3 trillion, spending $3.6 trillion, and running a deficit of $1.3 trillion. Haymaker investigates.  gohaymaker.com

Performance Dates:

Sunday, July 1st at 2:00pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC)  followed by Haymaker (Durham, NC)


Haymaker is a performance company based in Durham, N.C., producing original work by collaging found texts and personal experiences. Living with the Tiger (October 2011) marked Haymaker’s premiere production in Durham, and was written and performed by its three principal artists, Akiva Fox, Emily Hill, and Dan VanHoozer. 


1900 Ambrose Park, Brooklyn witnessed a vast spectacle of vaudeville dances, variety acts, folklore and songs with a cast of 500 African-Americans in the show Black America. In 1921, the Tulsa Race Riot destroyed the African-American community of Greenwood leaving close to 300 dead. Based loosely on the biographies of African-American vaudevillians Billy and Cordelia McClain, Shape concerns the life and labors of vaudevillian fairies exploited for their historical songs and dances, used by the dominant culture and abandoned at times of great need.  force/collision will create a devised work which concerns the historical record of early 20th century African-American performance with text by associate artist Erik Ehn.   

Performance Dates:
Thursday, July 5th at 7:30pm – force/collision (Washington, DC) followed by Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA)
Friday, July 6th at 8:30pm - Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by force/collision (Washington, DC) followed by Roundtable Discussion: “Critical Masses”
Saturday, July 7th at 7:30 pm - force/collision (Washington, DC) followed by Awkward Elephant Project (Pittsburgh, PA)
Sunday, July 8th at 2:00 pm - Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA) followed by Devised Artists’ Roundtable followed by force/collision (Washington, DC)


Force/collision is an interdisciplinary contingent of artists/collaborators whose mission is the creation of new performance works.  Based in Washington, D.C., force/collision was created by theatre director John Moletress for the purpose of bringing together artists of mixed disciplines in order to spark dialogue and create space for the presentation of new work.  The force/collision ensemble is John Moletress, Sue Jin Song, Collin Ranney, Karin Rosnizeck, Daniel Paul Lawson, Frank Britton, Ilana Faye Silverstein and Dane Figueroa Edidi.  Associate artists include Erik Ehn and Erica Rebollar/Rebollar Dance.

Children in the Dark

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Performed by Neutral Ground Ensemble

“Men fear death as children are afraid to go in the dark.” – Francis Bacon

Happening upon an old self-tortured soul, a group of ghosts enter into the man’s head with hopes of providing some relief. What they find will push them to their limits. This peculiar look at catharsis and fear is a unique theatrical experience through one man’s American mind. Children in the Dark is parts sad, funny, whimsical, intense, bizarre and all original!

Performance Dates:
Thursday, July 5th at 8:30pm – force/collision (Washington, DC)  followed by Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA)
Saturday, July 7th at 2:00pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA) and audience Talkback
Sunday, July 8th at 2:00pm – Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA), followed by Devised Artists’ Roundtable Talk, followed by force/collision (Washington, DC)


Neutral Ground Ensemble, based in New Orleans, is made up of young artists with big hearts and bigger courage. Our artistic vision is one that will tirelessly seek for the truth in us and in art as performance. In order to further our search we will not rely on what has worked in the past or attempt to recreate what audiences have enjoyed. Instead we will look for a new path in every single piece no matter the material and ask ourselves what is important to us and to the piece. In order to create original art we believe that we must face new challenges in process as well as material.


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Performed by Awkward Elephant Project

When the House of Representatives announced they were postponing plans to draft the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in January, many ████████ the death of what they considered censorship and a █████████ of First Amendment rights.  Blackout explores the ███████ █████ and ███████ of censorship and the ███████████ it serves.  Devised using an ensemble of Carnegie Mellon actors, the world premiere of Blackout has █████ and █████ for █████████.  ██ ██ very ██████ ███ ███ entertaining █████!

Performance Dates:
Sunday, July 1st at 7:30pm - Awkward Elephant Project (Pittsburgh, PA)  followed by Urban Garden (Raleigh, NC)
Saturday, July 7th at 7:30pm- force/collision (Washington, DC) followed by Awkward Elephant Project (Pittsburgh, PA) 


Awkward Elephant Project aims to present cutting-edge theatre and original ensemble work relevant and applicable for the progressive, adventurous audience.  Founded by Alex Tobey, our work often explores taboo and controversial topics difficult to explore and receive, but always prompting a necessary dialogue with the self, the audience, and the artists.  Awkward Elephant Project premiered as Necessary Dialogue in 2010 with columbinus, and will produce Daniel Talbott’s Slipping in December.

Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc

Twain meets True Grit in France.  With dancing. 

 Featuring live music and original songs by the band, Bevel Summers.

Performance dates:

Sunday, July 1 – 7:30pm: Awkward Elephant Project followed by Urban Garden
Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 pm: Machine Theatre followed by Urban Garden


Urban Garden is local to Raleigh and dedicated to cross-pollinating arts audiences and practitioners.  Since 2004 Urban Garden has produced 12 original live arts events in Indianapolis, IN, London, UK and Raleigh, NC.  They are planning their first full scale season in the Triangle for the coming year. 

Mum’s the Word

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Performed by Machine Theatre

A fractured and bleakly comic fever dream of a performance, Mum’s the Word brings privileged white suburbanites and African child soldiers into each other’s orbit in Machine Theatre’s award winning satire of race, politics and family in the New South.

Performance Times:
Sunday, July 1 at 2 pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by Haymaker (Durham, NC)
Friday, July 6 at 7:30 pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by force/collision (Washington, DC)
Saturday, July 7 at 2 pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by Neutral Ground (New Orleans, LA)
Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 pm – Machine Theatre (Charlotte, NC) followed by Urban Garden (Raleigh, NC)


Since 2009, MT has been creating new works for the stage, as well as curating and presenting up-and-coming playwrights/creators from the piedmont.  The Machine has become known for a blend of slapstick comedy, intellectual acrobatics and heartfelt storytelling that places the performer/spectator relationship at the center of the theatrical event.

Approaches to Devising – Exploring Process

APPROACHES TO DEVISING A workshop taught by Anna Jones. 
Saturday, June 30, 2012 from noon to 4 pm
Admission: $25.

Workshop will look at a rang eof starting points (e.g., text, image, space) and work through stages of the devising process, looking carefully at source material, brainstorming ideas, active workshopping of ideas and the editing process.


Anna Jones is a freelance theatre director and maker. She is currently under commission to the London Sinfonietta to devise a new piece based on the Greek myth of Persephone with puppeteer Seonaid Goody and composer Elspeth Brooke. 

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Estimated run time: More than 3 hours.


Past Productions & Events

The following shows/events have passed.