Free Festival of Contemporary Performance

PlayFest is a community performance festival held on selected evenings during the Conference in various locations across Omaha.  PlayFest examines how theatre is produced, its connection to society and what new designs are possible.  Performances take on a variety of forms from devised theatre and movement work created by local and national artists, to full-length plays highlighting the work of honored and featured guests, to Neighborhood Tapestries, a celebration of local stories, music, art and community.  The goal of PlayFest is to paint a diverse and vibrant portrait of the city, create a chance for friends and neighbors to interact, and be a catalyst for a dialogue within the community about the stories that affect our lives.

PlayFest is free and open to the public.  All shows use general seating, so arrive early!

The Rest I Make Up
Directed By Michelle Memran

May 28 at 7pm
Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theatre
1340 Mike Fahey Street

Post-show filmmaker discussion with Memran and producer Katie Pearl presented with The Great Plains Theatre Conference.

Maria Irene Fornes is one of America’s greatest playwrights and most influential teachers. When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off.

Thanks to our 2019 GPTC partner:


The Blues of Knowing Why
by Christopher Maly
Directed by Denise Chapman

Limited Seating

May 31 at 7pm
June 7 & 8, 13-15 at 7pm
June 2, 9, 16 at 4pm

Union for Contemporary Art
2423 N. 24th St.

On June 26th, 1969, 14-year-old Vivian Strong was killed by an Omaha Police officer. Her death divided a community and created a fracture that has never been resolved. The Blues of Knowing Why provides an account of Vivian’s short life and the timeless magnitude of her death.

Thanks to our 2019 GPTC partner:



EPIC – Part of GPTC’s Neighborhood Tapestries project
By Ellen Struve

Translations by Lucia Francisco and Marina Rosado

Directed by Michael John Garcés

May 29 at 7:30pm
May 30 at 7:30pm
May 31 at 7:30pm
Metropolitan Community College/South Omaha Campus ITC 120
2909 Edward Babe Gomez Ave.

Exploring the lives of contemporary South Omaha Mayan and artist communities through a time-bending journey of the ancient Mayan stories of the Popol Vuh, this multi-generational play will include music, puppetry and pageantry.

Closing Celebration and Performance Honoring Maria Irene Fornes 
Directed by Mary Beth Easley

Limited Seating

June 1 at 7:30 pm
Metropolitan Community College/Fort Omaha Campus
Swanson Conference Center
32nd and Sorensen Parkway

Come celebrate the close of the Festival and Conference with food, music, dancing and a performance honoring the life and work of Maria Irene Fornes.

All performance venues are ADA compliant for accessibility.  For any accessibility questions or needs please contact us at 531-622-2618.  Thank you.

PlayFest is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.  To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit