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April 8, 2011/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / High-res photo available upon request
Media Contact:
Liz Wooley, wooleyl@uncsa.edu, 336/734-2924



April 20-23 in Performance Place

WINSTON-SALEM— What is God's will? Who gets to decide?

In a secluded Kentucky Shaker community, these timeless questions are put in sharp focus by the nine women who are the primary subjects of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ (UNCSA) upcoming production of Arlene Hutton’s As It is in Heaven.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. April 20-22 and at 2 and 8 p.m. April 23 at the Catawba Theatre in Performance Place on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and are available through the UNCSA Box Office at (336) 721-1945 or online at www.uncsa.edu/performances.

Directed by UNCSA School of Drama alumna Ashley Gates Jansen, As It is in Heaven is a powerful and compelling re-creation of a volatile time in the history of the American Shaker community. Similar to The Crucible, Arthur Miller's classic play about the Salem witch trials, Hutton's play is infused with heightened emotions and punctuated by beautiful Shaker songs and dancing. 

Photo by Allen G. Aycock

Hannah (Kacie Brown) interrogates Fanny (Kathryn Saffell) on her claim of visions of angels in As It is in Heaven at UNCSA, April 20-23, 2011.

Acclaimed playwright Arlene Hutton, the pen name of actor/director Beth Lincks, was inspired to write As It is in Heaven after visiting the Pleasant Hill Shaker village in Harrodsburg, KY.  Pleasant Hill was occupied by Shakers for more than a century, before it was abandoned in 1927 due to the inability of the sect to attract new believers. As It is in Heaven premiered at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, and has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and off-Broadway. UNCSA’s production of As It is in Heaven will feature Drama college juniors and seniors (members of Studios III & IV).

Guest director Ashley Gates Jansen is a graduate of the UNCSA School of Drama’s Directing program. She has worked at the Old Globe in San Diego, Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland and San Francisco's Encore Theatre. She has directed a number of productions across the country, as well as several productions at UNCSA including The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1998), Three Tall Women (2002), Marion Bridge (2004), and After Easter (2005).

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.