Staged Reading Explores Immigration

Mitchell Thomas Directed "Good Day" in 2015

Mitchell Thomas Directed “Good Day” in 2015

Westmont College Festival Theatre launches the first of three staged readings by international playwrights to explore diverse global issues on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in Porter Theatre. “Nocturnal,” written by Juan Mayorga and directed by Mitchell Thomas, Westmont professor of theater, is free and open to the public.

“Westmont is taking a college-wide look at diverse topics such as immigration, the global refugee crisis, and the effects of war and genocide,” Thomas says. “The theater arts department has created our Border Crossings Staged Reading Series to highlight some of these issues through the medium of theater. Each production will feature a professional cast of actors reading the play, followed by a Q&A with the cast, director and invited expert panelists.”

Mayorga, a Spanish playwright who participated in the Royal Court Theatre’s International Residency in 1998, wrote the satirical “Nocturnal” in 2003.

Thomas directed "Animal Farm" in 2012

Thomas directed “Animal Farm” in 2012

Thomas will direct a second Spanish play, a full production of the modern classic “Bodas De Sangre” (Blood Wedding) by Federico García Lorca in the spring.

The Boundary Crossings Series continues Nov. 3 with “Letters from Cuba,” written by María Irene Fornés and directed by Lindsay Twigg ’16.

Thomas has directed two bilingual plays, and is interested in the intersection of culture and performance. The last two summers, he has traveled to Eastern Europe to work as a professional actor and director at an international theater festival in Macedonia.

He participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in February, where he served as an adjudicator for the Irene Ryan acting competition, and he presented a workshop entitled “Live in your body: exploring the physicality of the actor through the commedia dell’arte.” He graduated from Whitworth College, earned an MFA from the University of Washington and has taught at Westmont since 2004.