FAU’s Theatre Lab Announces Third Edition of The Fair Play Initiative

Friday, Aug 26, 2022
Theatre lab 2022-23 Fair Play Initiative

Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University, is pleased to announce the third edition of The Fair Play Initiative, a commission and development program for new plays about LGBTQ+ stories and experiences, once again made possible through generous funding from Our Fund Foundation. Our Fund Foundation promotes a culture of responsible philanthropy by uniting donors with organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community to make South Florida a more livable place for that community. 

The 2022-23 Fair Play Initiative will feature the commission and development of a new full-length stage play. For this year’s commission, Theatre Lab strongly encouraged proposals of stories inspired by important events in LGBTQ history.

“We are committed to ensuring that these deserving stories are shared with a broader community – promoting a deeper understanding and connection between us all,” said Matt Stabile, producing artistic director at Theatre Lab.  “After carefully reviewing the applications from playwrights from across the country, we are incredibly excited to announce the recipient of this year’s commission: Ms. Andie Arthur. Andie’s  proposal for this year’s program immediately stood out to the review committee for its themes of community and resilience, the incredible potential for production design, and its ability to highlight important historical events of which many locals are unaware. We’ve been fortunate to have worked with Andie as a playwright in the past - including as a recipient of one of the two commissions for new audio plays through last year’s program - and are very excited by what we believe will be a dynamic and exciting new play.”

The full commission includes stipends totaling $4,000, an initial week of development later this calendar year, and a second week of development culminating in a public reading as part of the 2023 New Play Festival (March 10-12, 2023). In addition, the agreement provides for a two-year period in which Theatre Lab will be given ‘right of first refusal’ for a world premiere production, and the stipulation that all future productions and publications will include the notation “Commissioned by Theatre Lab at FAU as part of the Fair Play Initiative, made possible by Our Fund Foundation.” 

Descriptions and playwright bio can be found below.

La Paloma by Andie Arthur

32 years before Stonewall… There was La Paloma.

Located in then unincorporated Dade County, now Miami Springs, La Paloma was a gathering place for “homosexuals in evening gowns, trousered lesbians, and prostitutes.” The club featured performances by Drag Queens and cis-female strippers and was staffed by people all over the gender spectrum. It was a place where Queer people felt comfortable being their authentic selves. 

On November 15, 1937, the Ku Klux Klan stormed La Paloma, burning crosses outside, violently attacking the club patrons and staff, and threatened to burn the place down. More than 200 Klan members attacked the club, with the Dade County Sheriff’s Office approval.

La Paloma reopened two weeks later, with the management promising “spicier entertainment than ever,” including a satire sketch of the raid with performers creating Drag Queen versions of white robes. 

The play follows three people throughout the night of November 15 – a trousered lesbian, a Drag Queen and a stripper – as they face the Klan, find community and fight back. The story of La Paloma is from Miami of 1937, but eerily like the Miami of today. 

Andie Arthur (she/her) is a playwright and dramaturg, the co-founding artistic director of Lost Girls Theatre, the executive director of the South Florida Theatre League, and adjunct faculty at New World School of the Arts. She is a graduate of the BFA Playwriting Program at DePaul University and a former fellow of the Kennedy Center’s Summer Playwriting Intensive and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs’ Playwright Development Program. 

Arthur’s plays include “In Common Hours” (finalist for the 2005 David Mark Cohen Award), “Dueling Edwards” (finalist for City Theatre’s 2012 National Short Play Contest), “The Feral Spinster Society,” “Dinner at the End of the World,” “Juliet Among the Changelings,” “Rev. Nathaniel’s Daughter,” “She Flies with Her Own Wings,” “Abacus Jones: Boy Detective,” “Choose Your Own Adventure: The Lost Chapter,” “The Secret of the Biological Clock,” and “Outcasts of Eden.” Her work has been seen at Theatre Lab, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Lost Girls Theatre, New Theatre, The Alliance Theatre Lab, The Naked Stage, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Marquette University, GableStage and Chicago Dramatists. Her audio dramas include “Blood Sisters” and “Where or When?’ (co-written with David J. Loehr), which can be heard  through the Incomparable Podcast Network.

For more information about Theatre Lab, visit www.fau.edu/theatrelab