Oakwood Lives 2016: Historical Voices of Raleigh

cemetery picture


Come see a one-of-a-kind performance at Raleigh’s “cemetery full of life!”  Every year, Burning Coal Theatre teams up with Historic Oakwood Cemetery to present an evening of vignettes about notable people who are resting peacefully there.


This year’s theme is “Home Again.”  To celebrate the release of Oakwood to Oakwood by local historian Bruce Miller, all of the plays focus on people who have lived in the Oakwood neighborhood or were instrumental in making it the special place that it is today.  Check back soon to find out which characters will be dramatized by local Raleigh playwrights.

May 20-22

Tickets $20 for adults, $10 for students, available at the Oakwood Cemetery on the date of the performance.

 701 Oakwood Ave, Raleigh, NC Read More »



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Oct 15 – Nov 1, 2015

Written by Kendall Rileigh and Nicki Miller

Directed by Nicki Miller

Coproduced by Only Child Aerial Theatre

Burning Coal Theatre teams up with the Brooklyn-based Only Child Aerial Theatre to present this dynamic piece, performed largely in the air, about an Asylum circa the mid-1960s, and the people whose lives are inextricably connected through the old building.  If you liked our Henry V (on Trapeze) from 2011, you will love ASYLUM!  The concept and story for ASYLUM is by Kendall Rileigh and Nicki Miller and the production is directed by Nicki Miller, with original song composed for this production by Sophie B. Hawkins.

[(c) 2014, photographer Carrie Firestone]

Estimated run time: 1.25 hours.

Watch the Trailer:


The Wiz


"Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat...great fun." - The New York Post

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Dec 3 – Dec 20, 2015

Written by Smalls & Brown

Directed by Randolph Curtis Rand

Additional music & lyrics by Luther Vandross

Music Director, Julie Florin

Join Burning Coal Theatre for one of the most beloved of American musicals.  This soulful classic follows Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow as they ease on down the road to find what is waiting for them over the rainbow, behind the curtain, and maybe even in their own backyard.

Performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm & Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm

Estimated run time: 2 hours.

Blue Sky

blue sky

"So, I was driving down this country road, right next to the runway. All the cow parsley was in flower, the swallows were skimming through the trees, there was a clear sky, the light was beautiful, kind of violet - and suddenly I heard this roar."

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Jan 28 – Feb 14, 2016

Written by Clare Bayley

Directed by Gus Heagerty

Coproduced by CAM/Raleigh

Join Burning Coal for the US premiere of British playwright Clare Bayley’s funny and troubling play about a photographer who inadvertently snaps a picture of something he shouldn’t have.  The play is based on a true story and deals with one of the darkest episodes in recent US history … and it happened right here in our own backyard.

Estimated run time: 2 hours.

Spoonface Steinberg


"Spoonface Steinberg is an amazement." - Financial Times

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Apr 7 – Apr 24, 2016

Written by Lee Hall

Directed by Jerome Davis

The author of Billy Elliot brings us a much different tale – the story of a 12 year old autistic girl, attempting to navigate the perilous waters of modern day life while dealing with an even more catastrophic, life threatening illness.  At each performance, a different member of our community will ‘play’ Spoonface.  Originally written as a radio play with music, this dramatic monlogue will be supported by live sung music originally made famous by Maria Callas.

Estimated run time: 1.5 hours.



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Jun 9 – Jun 24, 2016

Written by Koffee Dance Company

Directed by Avis Hatcher-Puzzo

Coproduced by Koffee Dance Company

FIVE Performances 6/9, 6/18, 6/24 at 7:30 pm, 6/11 and 6/19 at 2 pm

Koffee Dance Company is creating a movement/theater project entitled Insomnia, a presentation that explores the complex issues plaguing young African-Americans today.   As this generation has adopted #staywoke, KDC performers explore relationships, trauma, and identity, forty years after the release of the battle cry song, “Wake Up Everybody.” 

About Koffee Dance Company

Fresh full of young, effervescent talent in the Raleigh-Durham area, Koffee Dance Company aims to influence the dance scene with interesting subject matter, challenging choreography, and performers that are unique and bold.

Koffee is under the direction of AVIS HATCHER-PUZZO (Espresso) is the founder of Koffee Dance Company (KDC). A native of Connecticut, “Ms. Avis” is the Associate Professor of Dance at Fayetteville State University. She holds a BA in Dance/Theater from Trinity College, an MFA in Theater Arts and Dance from Case Western Reserve University and a MS in Higher Education from Capella University. Professor Hatcher-Puzzo has trained in Horton, Cunningham and Graham dance techniques as well as African, hip-hop and various styles of jazz. She studied with Judy Dworin, Garth Fagan, Clay Taliaferro, Darius Hockman, Ned Williams and Kathryn Karipides.

As a dancer with both the Paul Hall’s Contemporary Dance Theatre (a former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), and the dance company Mikata, while working in Connecticut she founded Wette Paint Dance Theater, a contemporary dance and theater company which toured the east coast. Ms. Avis’ students are now graduates of The Alvin Ailey School, Temple University dance department, New York University dance department, and University of the Arts in Philadelphia, as she incorporates Horton technique into jazz, hip-hop using theatrical gestures and situations. Read More »

Estimated run time: 1.5 hours.

TBD #2

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Jun 10 – Jun 26, 2016

Written by TBA

Directed by

Coproduced by

SIX performances on 6/10, 6/16 and 6/19 at 7:30 pm, 6/12, 6/25 and 6/26 at 2 pm

A production by an exciting Triangle area performance group on the theme of science and the workings of the human mind.  For information or to purchase tickets, give us a call at 919.834.4001.  Information on this production will be posted by December 1, 2015.

Estimated run time: 1.25 hours.

TBD #3

Written by TBD

A production by an exciting Triangle area performance group on the theme of science and the workings of the human mind.  For information or to purchase tickets, give us a call at 919.834.4001.  Information on this production will be posted by December 1, 2015.

Estimated run time: 1.25 hours.


Past Productions & Events

The following shows/events have passed.


Rum & Vodka

Written by Conor McPherson

Directed by Ilana Rozin

6/18 at 7:30 pm

6/20 at 7:30 pm

6/24 at 7:30 pm

6/26 at 8:00 pm

6/27 at 2 pm

The author of The Weir, The Seafarer and St. Nicholas brings you another wild and wooly tale of booze, love gone wrong, Ireland, crime and, somehow, redemption.

Ben Apple as Michael

Ben Apple as Michael

June 18, 20, and 24 at 7:30 pm
June 26 at 8 pm
June 27 at 2 pm








Indy Week Review: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/falling-for-burning-coal-theatre-companys-five-star-dark-vanilla-jungle-and-harrowing-rum-and-vodka/Content?oid=4525161


ABOUT THE DIRECTORIlana Rozin is a former Burning Coal intern. Now a Los Angeles based artist, Ilana works primarily with The Blank Theatre Company and Rogue Machine Theatre.  At Burning Coal she directed Civil Rights Through Song and The Vagina Monologues and  assisted on The Diary of Anne Frank.








ABOUT THE PERFORMERBen Apple has appeared regionally in Brother Wolf, Snow Queen, Christmas Carol, The Illusion (Triad Stage); Romeo and Juliet (NC Shakespeare Festival); Fashionistas, Winnie the Pooh (Theatre 232). Educational performances include Recent Tragic Events, Long Christmas Ride Home, Pride and Prejudice, Pericles.

Estimated run time: 1.5 hours.

Dark Vanilla Jungle

"Walking. Where's my bag? Dropped. Did I leave it in the car park of the new superstore? What's it called? Forget now. Dark. Rain."

Written by Philip Ridley

Directed by Staci Sabarsky

6/17 at 7:30 pm

6/19 at 7:30 pm

6/20 at 2 pm

6/25 at 7:30 pm

6/27 at 7:30 pm

England’s most relentless playwright spins a yarn of violence, desperation and hope amidst the cobblestone backstreets of a very modern city.






Indy Week gave Dark Vanilla Jungle 5- Stars!!! Read the Review Here: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/falling-for-burning-coal-theatre-companys-five-star-dark-vanilla-jungle-and-harrowing-rum-and-vodka/Content?oid=4525161

Caitlin Wells as Andrea

Caitlin Wells as Andrea


Staci Sabarsky headshot










Staci Sabarsky is thrilled to be directing Dark Vanilla Jungle with Burning Coal.  Favorite directing credits include:  The Odd Couple, Seussical Jr., The Rainmaker, Guys & Dolls Jr., and  Puss in Boots.  Staci earned her degree in Dramatic Arts from UNC.  For the past five years she has shared her love of performance with her middle school students at Duke School.  She also enjoys performing on stage in local productions and singing with The Moonlighters Orchestra.  Favorite roles include:  Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (The Gilbert Theater), Maureen in Rent (The Gilbert Theater), Debra in The Smell of the Kill (Temple Theater), Nancy in Frozen (REP), Belinda/Flavia in Noises Off (TIP), and Diana in Lend Me a Tenor (RLT). 


Caitlin Wells
Caitlin Wells
was raised in Raleigh and has lived in Minnesota, Brazil, and Spain. Recent credits include: And the Ass Saw the Angel, hmlt, Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo, The Man Who Was Thursday (Little Green Pig); Love and InformationMac, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (Delta Boys); Amadeus (Leviathan); Measure Back (Duke Performances/Christopher McElroen & T. Ryder Smith); Nadia (preposterous pictures). Caitlin is also a producer with Delta Boys Theater Company, and designed costumes for Little Green Pig’s Celebration and Prank Film/preposterous picture’s film Nadia.

Estimated run time: 1.5 hours.

Sea Wall

"When she thinks nobody's looking she can start off just going further and further into her imagination. Playing games all by herself. Did you ever know any kids like that?"

Written by Simon Stephens

Directed by Elizabeth London

6/11 at 7:30 pm

6/12 at 7:30 pm

6/13 at 7:30 pm

6/14 at 2 pm

6/21 at 2 pm

6/28 at 2 pm



Estimated run time: 1 hours.

The playwright who wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime comes in with a much different tale.  A man alone with his thoughts.  Something has happened to him.  Something life-changing.  He feels that he must tell it.  We feel that we must listen. 

See the Indy Weekly Review: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/in-burning-coal-theatre-companys-sea-wall-actor-joey-heyworth-plumbs-unfathomable-depths/Content?oid=4506039











Elizabeth London
is a director, actor, and master teaching artist based in New York who has worked Off-Broadway, downtown and regionally (including NC Shakespeare Festival). For Burning Coal she has directed Moliere’s THE FLYING DOCTOR (Raleigh First Night ‘99), acted in LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST (Season 1), EINSTEIN’S DREAMS, TARTUFFE and a workshop of BRASS BIRDS DON’T SING by Samm-Art Williams, plus led many Shakespeare and Viewpoints workshops for student groups. NYC directing includes 5-actor tours of ROMEO AND JULIET and PINOCCHIO, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE audio CD (also playing Portia), new full-length plays by longtime playwright collaborators and many one-acts. With theatre students around the country she has created/directed original large-ensemble shows and directed THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (ETC School, PA). Elizabeth narrates audiobooks (www.audible.com) and is part of Hook & Eye Theater Company who devise original work. Education/training: NYU (BFA in Film); SITI Company, BADA. Member AEA.

Joey Heyworth is honored join this company.  He recently appeared as Romeo in Burning Coal's Romeo & Juliet.  Though new to the theatre scene in Raleigh, he is overjoyed by the warm welcome he's received by many extraordinary artists. Previous credits include The Iron Curtain Trilogy (Burning Coal, Raleigh and London), I Capture The Castle (Stoneham Theatre), and Gross Indecency (Bad Habit Productions). 

Sunday in the Park with George

Apr 9 – May 3, 2015

Written by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine

Directed by Jerome Davis

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s masterpiece about the painter Georges Seurat and his obsessive quest to create the painting that would define his life, his city, and his time.  The second act then moves forward in time to look at George’s great grandson and his own fight to make art in a world where beauty often takes a backseat to commerce.  This remarkable work remains one of only three American musicals ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.  Includes the timeless Sondheim classics Finishing the Hat, Putting it Together, Children and Art and Move On.

Learn more about the history of the show and more here on our website created by Laura Owens and Madeline Kvale.


Estimated run time: 2 hours.

Sunday in the Park with George Trailer from Long Street Media on Vimeo.

Romeo & Juliet

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Jan 22 – Feb 15, 2015

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Emily Ranii

Shakespeare’s timeless play about two young people discovering love and daring to defy their parents’ ages old blood feud is possibly the greatest love story ever told, and a political fable for our time.  Emily Ranii, who played Juliet for us at the age of 14, returns to direct this extraordinary ensemble.


Watch the Trailer

The Iron Curtain Trilogy

Sep 4 – Sep 27, 2014

Written by David Edgar

Directed by Jerome Davis

This autumn, the world will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain. To commemorate this event, Burning Coal Theatre Company will present, for the first time anywhere, all three of David Edgar’s magnificent Iron Curtain Trilogy. The three plays will run in repertory, so that it will be possible to see all three in a single weekend.  NOTE: The Iron Curtain Trilogy will be performed at 117 S. West Street in downtown Raleigh.  Then Burning Coal will be performing the trilogy at the Cockpit in London in November.

Click here to visit the incredible website REVOLUTION: THE IRON CURTAIN IN THE SPOTLIGHT created by UNC’s Department of European Studies in collaboration with Burning Coal Theatre and Wake County Public Schools.


Estimated run time: 2 hours.

Watch the Trailer