A play written by the director of New College’s Black Box Theater has been selected to be produced next summer by the The Players Centre for Performing Arts in Sarasota.
Monica Cross, the production manager and technical director of the BBT, entered the script of “The Wonder of Our Stage” for consideration for the Centre’s New Play Festival. Judges selected it over four other finalists to be produced in the Centre’s Backstage Theater July 23-28, 2019.
“The Wonder of Our Stage” is an Elizabethan-era story with a fantasy/sci-fi twist. The idea for the play “has been gestating for five years,” Cross said. “It sprang out of the question of who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays.”
At the direction of the queen, an alchemist builds a mechanical man. As the machine gains consciousness, it struggles to find purpose. Cross describes the play as a coming of age story. “The mechanical man begins writing to better understand humanity. In doing so, he finds his life in the theatre, finding his purpose,” she said.
Writing about Shakespeare is nothing new for Cross. Elements of his plays were the subject of both of her masters theses from Mary Baldwin College.
Collaborating with local director Candice Artim, “The Wonder of Our Stage” will undergo a series of rewrites and rehearsals this spring, culminating in the final production in July.
The production also got a recent boost with a $3,000 grant from the John Ringling Towers Fund, through the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota. The Individual Artist Award recognizes practicing, professional, artists residing in Sarasota County. The awards support artists of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability to continue to produce work.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state's Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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