Mother and Daughter Display Their Talents OUT LOUD

Entertainment lineages are nothing new as Barrymores, Reitmans, Sheens and Hustons have filled stage and screen with their names and talents. Closer to home, it’s not unusual to see some family names appear multiple times in one program as parents and children band together to keep artistic vision alive in the Ocean State. Pitts-Wiley is one name that leaps to mind as Mixed Magic encapsulates the decades of theater that Rhode Island has been fortunate enough to witness at the hands of Ricardo and his house. Another surname that crops up again and again in connection with Rhode Island Theater is Hawkridge. In the 1990s, Alan Hawkridge, an accomplished performer from London, helmed the now defunct NewGate Theatre in Providence and today can be found teaching his craft at URI. His wife, Pat Hawkridge, is Dean of Arts at Beacon Charter High School as well as a semi-regular face on local screens and stages. Pat is also Artistic Director of her own company, LaVoce: Theatre That Speaks. Pat’s vision is to bring voice to topics of social change, and productions such as The Mill Project allowed audiences to understand the plight of the young women who toiled during the Industrial Revolution and the unique setting of Slater Mill allowed Hawkridge to extend her reach beyond the fixed confines of one particular theater or rented space.

This approach to performance and production is shared by Alan and Pat’s daughter, Kira, who also holds the title of Artistic Director for OUT LOUD Theatre whose ambitious Cowboy Mouth was staged at her father’s old stomping grounds at Mathewson Street Church. Her beautiful and poignant The Most Massive Woman Wins toured spaces throughout the region with a similar mission to LaVoce – bring to light social issues and particularly issues that affect young women in a society too often conditioned to dismiss or discourage honest discourse. Kira Hawkridge is committed to keeping OUT LOUD free to perform where and when they want, allowing her message to reach as wide an audience as possible while still producing quality work.

Now, mother and daughter collaborate to create two weekends of theater using the same space for two very different plays. The URI Feinstein Providence Campus Arts and Culture Program calls the partnership “2 Women. 2 Weekends. 2 Shows.,” but that oversimplifies things a bit. LaVoce tackles nothing less than Shakespeare’s Hamlet June 19 – 21 and sees Alan Hawkridge partnering with his wife as co-Director. On June 26 – 28, Kira Hawkridge and OUT LOUD take on Sarah Kane’s Crave, another challenging piece that taxes director and audience alike with its lack of traditional context and intensely dark themes. Kira juggles acting duties for Hamlet (as Gertrude) and tackles the monumental task of bringing life to a script that defies description.

The collaboration came about as a result of Steven Pennell of the Urban Arts and Cultural Program at the Feinstein Campus approaching Pat Hawkridge and suggesting that she and Kira present two different but similarly themed pieces. “I have always loved working with Steven at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus,“ says Pat Hawkridge. “It just feels right.” The notion is to celebrate the arts talent pouring out of Rhode Island’s various college theater programs, show how they often interact and pool their considerable talents.

Creating a new company post-graduation is certainly nothing new these days, but Kira Hawkridge has the unique capability of having her distinguished parents for both inspiration and active participation in her endeavors. “Having the opportunity to work alongside my folks is beyond rewarding,“ says Kira. “The older I get (Hawkridge is now 24 and a recent graduate from URI) the more I appreciate the fact that I was able to be raised working in the theater. It is something we can share and relate to together as a family, while also celebrating and learning from our different processes and aesthetics.” Those aesthetics increasingly come to mean “visceral and immersive experiences” of which her Tour for Social Change and …Massive Woman Wins were prime examples. In that production, the audience was seated onstage with four exemplary actresses who bared all, literally and figuratively, to force the questions of body image and the shame of girls growing up with a distorted sense of what it means to be a woman in today’s society. In that same way, Crave will demand “connectivity and truth.”

Hamlet and Crave share some similar sensibilities but are wildly different in style, a perfect showcase for the wide range of talents representing the Hawkridges’ myriad accomplishments across the past couple of decades (and counting). “As an active theater family, we have had a lot of opportunities to work together over the years, but this is definitely the first collaboration of its kind,” says Kira. This June gives us a unique chance to celebrate the Hawkridge family and the width and breadth of their growing theatrical dynasty.

Hamlet Presented by LaVoce: Theatre That Speaks June 19-21, 7:30pm. Crave Presented by OUT LOUD Theatre June 26-28, 7:30pm. URI Feinstein Providence Campus, PAFF Auditorium. All performances are FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact OUT LOUD Theatre outloudtheatre@gmail.com or visit outloudtheatre.org.

Leave a Reply

Prove that you are human *

Previous post:

Next post: