Urban Acts: Staged Reading Series

Something new is coming for the city of Downey, a series of staged readings of new plays is being presented here by Urban Theatre Movement and the Downey Arts Coalition.  It’s no secret that Downey doesn’t have anything currently in the way of contemporary drama produced in our borders.  However, we have artists and performers here in town and nearby that are passionate about the theatre.  One of the DAC’s goals is to bring that kind of contemporary theatre here to Downey audiences.

This effort is our first step in that process.  “Urban Acts: New Plays From the Street” is a series of four staged readings, performed at four site-specific locations in Downey.  Keep reading after the poster:

For those unfamiliar with staged readings, they are read live on stage by experienced actors, but with script in hand and without full costume and set design.  Readings such as these are critical for a playwright and a potential theatre company as they explore how actors and audiences interact with the material.

The playwrights will be in attendance at each performance and we are planning to do a brief Q&A afterward to give the audience an opportunity to hear them speak about the play in person. The DAC is co-producing this series with the critically-acclaimed Urban Theatre Movement, who is usually in residence at Los Angeles Theatre Center and just came off a successful run of Miguel Piñero’s Short Eyes which was named LA Times Critics’ Choice.

Each of these plays are new works that have yet to be produced.  The actors have read and rehearsed a couple times beforehand, but the point of the evening is to keep it fresh and vital.  When a play has had several successful readings, theatre companies consider producing the full show.

Here is a run down of the dates & plays:

Sunday May 6th – 7PM
In Case You Forget by Ben Snyder
Directed by David Santana

On the streets of New York, this is the story of a young street artist’s last  days before he is incarcerated for vandalism. This powerful work explores the philosophical, social, and artistic side of being a graffiti artist.

@ NUMBER 349029 Florence Ave. @ Arrington east of Lakewood.
PLUS: Art show featuring street art with gala reception afterward.

Sunday May 20th – 7PM
La Vida Lucky (1974) by Daniel Houston Davila
Directed by Alistair Hunter

A tough Mexican-American man in the barrio of Norwalk, CA, at a young age is facing the decision to have a vasectomy.  Adapted from the playwright’s novel Malenche’s Children, the University Press of Mississippi describes the novel as “a chronicle of this small Mexican-American hamlet, from its formation in 1900 by Mexican farmworkers yearning to end their wanderings to its troubled rise one hundred years later when their descendants live uneasily between two worlds.”

Presented at GRANATA’S & TAPAS11032 Downey Avenue and 2nd Street

Sunday May 27th – 7PM
HandBall by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
Directed by Paul Tully

Rosenfeld’s work often deals with the collision of cultures in urban environments, and this play follows the gentrification of a Bronx neighborhood that once was a destination for handball enthusiasts.

Presented at EPIC LOUNGE8239 2nd Street and New

Sunday June 3rd – 7PM
Alexander the Greatest by Forrest Hartl
Directed by Forrest Hartl

A dark comedy about a narcissistic young actor who lies, cheats and steals his way to the top of Hollywood.  It’s our privilege to present the work of one of the DAC’s original members.

Presented at DOWNEY MORAVIAN CHURCH – 10337 Old River School Rd. south of Florence

* In Case You Forget and Handball contain adult language, so sensitive ears should be fore-warned.

The Downey Arts Coalition hopes to build a love for contemporary drama and new works here in the city, building an audience for the potential theatre of the future. We hope you’ll join us in our efforts.

To RSVP for the shows, send the dates and your name to

For sponsorship information, email Andrew at .


By Downey Arts Coalition

Downey Arts Coalition is a movement of several people, however this website is currently managed and updated by Andrew J Wahlquist.


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