Sam Chanse Performs Preview at Sloan Performing Arts Center : News Center



September 27, 2022


Left to right: Cynthia Xiao ’24 and Jesika Barnes ’23 are among the students performing in the International Theater Program’s production of “Fellowship,” which opens September 29. (Photo by University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster)


Camaraderie is the latest production commissioned by the International Theater Program as part of an initiative to support early career playwrights.

The world premiere of Camaraderie takes place at the Sloan Performing Arts Center at the University of Rochester. Commissioned by the International Theater Program as part of its New Voice Initiative, the play was written by Sam Chanse and first developed during his artist residency in Rochester in 2019. Chanse is a resident playwright of New Dramatists , a former fellow at MacDowell, Cherry Lane, Sundance Theater Institute and Playwrights Realm, and has taught writing and drama at Columbia University and New York University, in addition to Rochester.

Camaraderie is the fifth production since 2005 to result from the New Voice Initiative and was funded for 2019-22 by Natalie Hurst ’74.

The story, which incorporates elements of magical realism, revolves around a group of young, college-aged activists who intern for a social justice organization, but the place they work from is haunted. “Sam Chanse’s play is funny, insightful and timely. It addresses themes of identity and privilege, which are part of today’s cultural conversation,” explains Nigel Maister, Director of the International Theater Program. “But it does so by keeping a refreshingly irreverent eye on the weaknesses and dynamics of liberal pieties while not neglecting to acknowledge the sometimes-charged history that gave rise to their need in the first place.”

Camaraderie is the fifth production since 2005 to result from the New Voice Initiative and was funded for 2019-22 by Natalie Hurst ’74. The initiative, which brings early-career playwrights to Rochester to work with students, has funded past commissions including The puzzle locker by W. David Hancock, The Hairy Duchman by Andy Bragen, The Rochester plays by Spencer Christiano, and the musical Mother Courage and his children with music by Matt Marks.

“Commissioning new work for theater is one of the most important things an academic institution can do,” says Maister. “I’m thrilled that we can bring this new work to the world.”

Camaraderie opens September 29 and closes October 8.

Key words: Arts and Sciences, Department of English, International Theater Program, Nigel Maister, Performing Arts

Category: Arts