Stanford Repertory Theater and Planet Earth Arts

2019 Summer Festival:

The Environment and Social Justice

To celebrate its 21st anniversary, Stanford Repertory Theater is proud to partner with Planet Earth Arts and the National Center for New Plays in presenting a festival dedicated to the Environment and Social Justice. The festival features three original works: Voices of the Earth: From Sophocles to Rachel Carson and beyond … (a compilation of voices on humans and the natural world); Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie-Fringed Orchids (a play in which well-meaning environmentalists confront the tragic realities of Black Lives Matter); and Anna Considers Mars (the poignant story of a young woman who dreams of being chosen for a one-way journey to Mars).

The summer festival also includes the first Planet Earth Arts Environmental Film Festival, with discussions and talkbacks among filmmakers, Stanford faculty, and special guests featured in the films. All events take place on the Stanford campus.

Review of Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids in the Stanford Daily:

Read this feature on SRT's Environment and Social Justice summer festival!

Listen to SRT Artistic Director Rush Rehm discussing the 2019 festival on KALW's "Open Air":

Voices of the Earth: From Sophocles to Rachel Carson and beyond …

Compiled (with Charles Junkerman) and directed by SRT Artistic Director Rush Rehm, Voices of the Earth explores the challenging relationship between humans and the natural world. Along with wilderness sounds, the staged reading features environmental pioneers (von Humboldt, Muir, Carson), great nature writers (Thoreau, Stegner, Abbey, Dillard), early thinkers on the environment (Heraclitus, Sophocles, Aristotle, Ovid), native American voices (Crowfoot, Chief Luther Standing Bear, Chief Joseph), poets who honor the earth (Li Po, Frost, Neruda, Levertov, Merwin, Snyder, Oliver), playwrights who bring nature to the stage (Shakespeare, Chekhov, O’Neill), activists (Goodall, Mendes, Saro-wiwa, McKibben), deniers who insist we face no crisis, and scientists who know better.

Performance Schedule:

July 11 – July 14, 2019 (85 minutes, no intermission)

Thursday & Saturday at 8:00pm, Saturday & Sunday Matinees at 2:00pm

Nitery Theater, 514 Lasuen Mall, Stanford

Tickets: $15 adults/$10 students/seniors

Tickets can be found on Vendini or via the phone at 650-725-5838

Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids

Polar Bears is a bold new play by Los Angeles playwright Vincent Terrell Durham in which a white liberal couple host Black Lives Matter activists at a dinner party. This is a powerful exploration of the explosive class and racial collisions between environmentalism, gentrification and racially triggered police violence in America. Vincent Terrell Durham is the author of 10 plays, including The Fertile River about the tragic history and legacy of eugenics in North Carolina. Commissioned by Planet Earth Arts and PlayGround, Polar Bears is directed by Rush Rehm in a Stanford Repertory Theater workshop production.

Performance Schedule:

July 18 – July 28

Thursday & Saturdays at 8:00pm, Saturday & Sunday Matinees at 2:00pm

Nitery Theater, 514 Lasuen Mall, Stanford

Tickets: $15 adults/$10 student/seniors

Tickets can be found on Vendini or phone 650-725-5838

Anna Considers Mars

Commissioned by Planet Earth Arts and PlayGround, Anna Considers Mars by San Francisco playwright Ruben Grijalva tells the poignant story of a young woman who dreams of being chosen for a one-way journey to Mars. The play explores a near-future full of peril and possibility, in which the digital and physical worlds blend seamlessly, intractable diseases are in retreat, and our multi-planetary dreams are on the cusp of fulfillment. At the same time, that great cities have been abandoned to the tides, keystone species have been lost forever, and the gap between haves and have-nots has stretched into an ever more dangerous chasm. Directed by Susi Damilano with a professional cast, the PlayGround/Planet Arts co-production of  Anna Considers Mars comes to Stanford’s Nitery Theater following its world premiere at PlayGround’s Potrero Stage in San Francisco.

Performance Schedule:

August 1 – August 11

Thursday & Saturdays at 8:00pm, Saturday & Sunday Matinees at 2:00pm

Nitery Theater, 514 Lasuen Mall, Stanford

Tickets: Tickets: $15 adults/$10 student/seniors

Tickets can be found on Vendini or phone 650-725-5838.

Planet Earth Arts Environmental Film Festival

Now in its fifth year at Stanford, Planet Earth Arts is a campus-wide interdisciplinary program involving students and faculty in creative collaborations between the arts, humanities and sciences to explore urgent environmental and social justice issues. We collaborate with and bring renowned photographers, filmmakers, composers/musicians, theater artists, dancers & choreographers, writers and visual artists to Stanford as Guest Artists.

We are launching the first Planet Earth Arts Environmental Film Festival with five powerful documentaries about the devastating California wild fires, the indigenous community in Mexico who are the guardians of imperiled Monarch butterflies, the first solo-powered flight around the world and a special evening featuring the films of one of the pioneers of environmental filmmaking, David Vassar.

The Films:

A Journey into the Heart of Nature: An Evening of Films by David Vassar & Sally Kaplan (USA 2019)

We join filmmakers David Vasser and Sally Kaplan on a cinematic journey as a botanist climbs 250 feet into the crown of a giant sequoia, the history of Yosemite as the birthplace of America’s National Parks, then onto a magical concert by the Paul Winter Consort in the Grand Canyon and into the breathtaking beauty of the deserts of Southern California and Nevada, home to rich ecosystems teeming with life.

Wilder Than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future

Kevin White & Stephen Most· USA· 2018

Bay Area filmmakers take us on a journey from the Rim Fire of 2013 to the Wine Country wildfires of 2017, revealing how fire suppression and climate change have exposed our forests and wildland-urban landscapes to large, high-severity wildfires, and exploring strategies to mitigate future disasters.

The Guardians

Tessa Moran & Ben Crosbie· USA· 2017

A visually dazzling meditation on the delicate balance between humans and nature,

The Guardians elegantly interweaves the lives of the iconic Monarch butterfly with an indigenous community in Mexico. Both depend on the same ancient forest for their survival and now face an uncertain future.

Breaking the Spell: Awakening to the Dream of the Earth

Michael Fried & Neal Rogin · USA · 2018

Inspired by the work of revered eco-theologian Thomas Berry this meditative film takes us on a journey beginning with the big-bang and the birth of all life in the Universe into our stark and fateful present moment of climate change, raging storms, rising seas, ravaging wildfires, mass extinctions, dying forests, rivers and seas. It is a call for a spiritual awakening of our relationship with and responsibility to the future of all life.

Point of No Return

Noel Dockstader & Quinn Kanaly· USA· 2017

Point of No Return takes you behind the headlines of the first solar-powered flight around the world—where two courageous pilots take turns battling nature, their own crew, and sometimes logic itself, to achieve the impossible. Not just to make history, but to inspire a revolution.

Film Screenings Schedule:

Monday Evenings at 7pm: July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, August 12

FREE; no registration is required.

Visit for location and individual film screening schedule updates (films subject to change). 

SRT's 2018 Hecuba/Helen received great reviews, including the following from Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle: 

"Aleta Hayes’ choreography ... keeps Hecuba/Helen ceaselessly dynamic ... This group of young women is constantly darting about the space, pitching, heaving and lunging their limbs, arranging and rearranging themselves like electrons that then pause for an instant to blossom into a kaleidoscopic pattern."

"The script demands that Walsh mine symphonic range out of grief ... A few bold choices, like a foray into song, lend new shading to suffering; she’s like Shakespeare’s Ophelia, at once fathoming too much and not fathoming at all, the song both a veil over a clouded gaze and a clear-eyed immersion into sadness, the likes of which those who hold onto sanity can never know."

"It’s always invigorating to witness one of Western theater’s titanic women, but to see two of them in implied dialogue with one another opens up a new range of possibilities, both for classic drama and for our own."

SRT's 2017 The Many Faces of Farce was nominated for a Theater Bay Area Critics Award for best production in the South Bay. "It’s a wonderful production, well performed and well directed. … an entertaining and thoughtful evening of theater.”  Palo Alto Daily Post

SRT's 2016 production of Odet's Waiting for Lefty: "Kudos to Stanford Repertory Theater and artistic director Rush Rehm for bringing this pithy production to Bay Area audiences." San Jose Mercury News

SRT's 2015 production of Coward's Hay Fever received three Bay Area Theater Critic Award Nominations: Best Production, Best Costumes (Connie Strayer), Best Supporting Actress (Kathleen Kelso)

SRT's 2014 production of Welles' Moby Dick - Rehearsed received ten Theater Bay Area nominations, and won in four categories: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Direction (Rush Rehm and Courtney Walsh), and Outstanding Sound Design (Michael Keck)