Cornerstone Theater Company


Introducing our 15th Annual Bridge Award Honorees: Alison Carey

We are thrilled to be honoring three exceptional women at this year’s Bridge Awards on May 17. They come from different fields, but one thing they all have in common is a dedication to the betterment of the communities they live, work and serve in. This article is part of a 3-part series, giving you a glimpse in to who these exceptional women are.

ALISON CAREY is director of American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s multi-decade program, commissioning and developing 37 new plays about moments of change in United States history. Carey is co-founder of and former resident playwright of Cornerstone Theater Company, which creates work with and for communities, and her work has been produced at venues nationwide, including Arena Stage, the Public Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, the shuttered mother plant of Bethlehem Steel, and a dirt-floor cattle sale barn.  Much of her time is spent trying to engage the arts around the fight for environmental justice and a healthier planet.

Can you spot Alison in the photos below from Cornerstone’s early years?

Some of Alison’s work with Cornerstone include:

CALIFORNIA: THE TEMPEST (California 2014–2015) Adapted by Alison Carey. Directed by Michael John Garcés. Celebrated and united our first ten Institute Summer Residency communities. This California Bridge Tour included a touring cast of 13 – four Ensemble, seven actors representing the collaborating communities, one Institute grad actor, and one hybrid grad/community actor. The script adapted Shakespeare’s Tempest to the state of California through the particular lens of our collaborating communities: Arvin, Lost Hills, Grayson & Westley, Pacoima, East Salinas, Fowler, Holtville, Eureka, seniors in San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles’s Arts District. Including the cast, the touring company was about 30 company members including one community crew person. In each town, 14 to 30 local actors joined the touring cast onstage.

A HOLTVILLE NIGHT’S DREAM (Holtville, CA, 2007) – Adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy by Alison Carey and the people of Holtville. Directed by Laurie Woolery. Performed in Finley Elementary School Auditorium in Holtville.

CROSSINGS, JOURNEYS OF CATHOLIC IMMIGRANTS (Los Angeles, 2002) Playwrights Alison Carey, Peter Howard, Shishir Kurup, Page Leong, Armando Molina, Evangeline Ordaz, Bernardo Solano, and Bernard White adapted Old and New Testament stories to explore the journeys of 5 diverse parishes throughout Los Angeles. Directed by Steve Kent. Performed at St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles.

FOR HERE OR TO GO? (Los Angeles, 2001) – In celebration of Cornerstone’s 15th Anniversary, we brought together representatives from every L.A. community with which we have collaborated (15 communities) in our Citywide, Jumbo-Sized, Extra-Value Holiday Show performed on the Mark Taper Forum stage. Written by Alison Carey, inspired by Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Directed by Bill Rauch.

AS YOU LIKE IT: A CALIFORNIA CONCOCTION (March 10 – April 16, 2006) – Adapted by Alison Carey and directed by Bill Rauch. Shakespeare’s court and country are now Southern California city and desert, and Shakespeare’s themes of love, liberation and gender confusion unfold hilariously in a modern America obsessed with red states, blue states, political power and cultural identity. At The Pasadena Playhouse.

PETER PAN (Cleveland, OH, 2001)- A contemporized version adapted by Alison Carey and directed by Bill Rauch involved residents from northeast Ohio. Performed at Great Lakes Theater Festival.

THE GOOD PERSON OF NEW HAVEN (New Haven, CT, 2000 )The final production of Long Wharf Theatre’s 1999-2000 mainstage season, Alison Carey’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s modern fable was created over three years in workshops involving hundreds of local residents.

STEELBOUND (Bethlehem, PA, 1999) – The centerpiece event of Touchstone Theatre’s Steel Festival, Alison Carey’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound with a cast of over 50 including former steel workers, produced in the iron foundry of the former Bethlehem Steel home plant. Read the Arts for all People story of the production.

FOOT/MOUTH (Montclair, Pasadena, Santa Monica, 1999) – Directed by Christopher Liam Moore, this site-specific play combined Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls and Alison Carey’s adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s The Man with the Flower in his Mouth and used infrared headsets for the audience to eavesdrop on the private conversations of actors playing shoppers.

MALLIÈRE (Santa Monica, 1996) – Three Moliere farces adapted by Alison Carey and transported to a Southern California shopping mall.

CALIFORNIA SEAGULL (Santa Monica, CA and Stanford, Palo Alto, CA, 1995) — Alison Carey’s adaptation of Chekhov set on a contemporary California vineyard. Critic’s Choice Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Reader & Backstage West.

TWELFTH NIGHT, OR AS YOU WERE (Los Angeles, 1994-1997) — Shakespeare’s comedy adapted by Alison Carey and set poolside on a contemporary Southern California naval base. Winner of 6 Drama-Logue Awards including Outstanding Production. Named Best of 1994 by the Los Angeles Reader & Village View.


CLICK HERE to join us in honoring Alison Carey at Cornerstone’s 15th Annual Bridge Awards on May 17.

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