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.

2020 PlayFest Productions:

Stories: on the brink

by Colleen O’Doherty
Directed by Haley Haas

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 26-27 @ 7:30 pm

Holy Family Church, 1715 Izard St.

A world premiere, Neighborhood Tapestries production

A Co-production in partnership with Anastasis Theatre Company, Holy Family Church, Sienna Francis House, Open Door Mission, Stephen Center and Micah House

Developed from the stories of people affected by homelessness, ON THE BRINK incorporates the art of storytelling and theater to amplify voices too often ignored and will involve the community in all aspects of creation and performance. During this collaboration, Colleen and Haley have worked with Sienna Francis House, Open Door Mission, Stephen Center and Micah House to facilitate gatherings of community members sharing their personal narratives (story circles), and conducted interviews to allow the homeless and those who work with the homeless to share their stories.

In the Upper Room

by Beaufield Berry
Directed by Mary Beth Easley

Wednesday, May 27 @ 7:30pm

Creighton’s Lied Education Center for the Arts, 2500 California Plz

Part of a rolling World Premiere – developed as a GPTC 2017 PlayLab

A Co-production in partnership with Creighton University Fine and Performing Arts

In the Upper Room introduces the Berrys, a multi-generational Black family living under one roof, in the 1970’s. The center of the family sphere is a controlling and mysterious matriarch named Rose, who has indoctrinated fear into every member of the house. Whose past and stories don’t add up. And who may be hiding dark secrets. Surrounding her core of chaos is her mild-mannered husband, Eddie. Her gregarious son, John, and his wife Janet trying to reclaim ownership in their own home. Two nosy in-laws who love to challenge her credibility and Yvette and Josephine, her teenage granddaughters who she loves sporting against each other, bringing issues of colorism and loyalty into the family dynamic. This is a play woven with story-telling, Black love, the occult, family secrets, sisterhood and the ties that bind us all.

Our Half of the Sky

by Christine Farrell
Directed by Sarah Lynn Brown

Thursday, May 28 @ 7:30 pm

Mastercraft Building, 1111 N 13th Street

A world premiere – developed as part of the of the 2018 GPTC PlayLabs

A Co-production in partnership with The Mastercraft Building

An intimate portrait of the fight for women’s suffrage, Our Half of the Sky depicts flesh-and-blood history emerging from kitchens, séances, and convention halls. A reluctant leader at first, Elizabeth Cady Stanton rises to prominence in the late 19th century lecture circuit, but ultimately comes into conflict with former allies when they vote to exclude women’s suffrage from their platform. Through Stanton’s relationships with Frederick Douglass, Mary Shad Cary, Susan B. Anthony, and her own abolitionist husband, the play explores a character who finds the roots of her passion, even as she loses the battle for suffrage.

2016 PlayFest Highlights
2015 PlayFest Highlights

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

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