James Still Celebration

James Still is celebrating his 20th season as the IRT’s playwright-in-residence. As we honor this unique partnership between theatre and playwright, we invite the community to join us for a yearlong celebration of his work at the IRT. Learn more about his artistic journey this year by engaging in unique opportunities including events, play readings, and productions written and directed by James Still.

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Play reading | The House That Jack Built
March 10 | 2 p.m. | Indiana Repertory Theatre
The first play in the Miranda and Appoggiatura trilogy. RSVP to the Ticket Office at 317.635.5252 or ticketoffice@irtlive.com

Play reading | April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream
March 15 | 5:30 p.m. | Indy Reads Books
Inspired by true stories, this play offers an intimate look at one Indianapolis family's collision with history, witnessing Bobby Kennedy's powerful speech on the evening of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. RSVP to the Ticket Office at 317.635.5252 or ticketoffice@irtlive.com

This event in partnership with Indy Reads Books. 



James Still Celebration Kickoff
September 12 | 6 p.m. | Indiana Repertory Theatre

Play reading | The Widow Lincoln
November 29 | 6:30 p.m. | Indiana Repertory Theatre
A play that explores the tenacious attitudes and heartbreaking grief of the maligned "Mrs. President" in the 40 days following the assassination. 

Play reading | A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters
January 18 | 5:30 p.m. | Central Library
Join us as we continue our season-long celebration of IRT Playwright-in-Residence James Still’s 20th season with a reading of selections from A Long Bridge over Deep Waters. Actors and community members will read curated portions of the play, followed by discussion. Community members who wish to read roles can sign up as they enter the event. To RSVP visit or contact the IRT Ticket Office at 317.635.5252.

This event is in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library 

Playwright talk and play reading | The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series at IUPUI
February 23 | 7 p.m. | IUPUI

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the IUPUI English Department are delighted to present the Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series featuring playwright James Still, who will read from his collected works at the Lilly Auditorium on February 23, 2018, at 7 p.m. Learn more and RSVP at reiberg-still.eventbrite.com.

This event is in partnership with IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute



Appoggiatura Technical Rehearsal Experience
March 3 | Indiana Repertory Theatre
Event is for Manuscript & Dialogue Circles of James Still Society

Looking Over the President's Shoulder Technical Experience
March 24 | Indiana Repertory Theatre
Event is for Manuscript & Dialogue Circles of James Still Society

James Still Celebration Finale
May 9 | Indiana Repertory Theatre
Event is for all members of James Still Society

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Celebrating storytelling and the creation of new plays

James Still is celebrating his 20th season as the IRT’s playwright-in-residence during the 2017/2018 Season. In honor of this momentous occasion, we invite you to join us for unique opportunities to learn more about his artistic journey. By making a gift to the James Still Society, you are supporting the creation of new work and demonstrating to the Central Indiana community that you believe great art is worth investing in. 


In order to qualify for the Society, you must be a new donor to the IRT, or increase your giving by an amount listed below. 

James Still Society members will also receive the annual fund benefits corresponding to their total giving. 

  • Invitation for two people to an exclusive reception with IRT Playwright-in-Residence James Still

  • Digital signage recognition during the run of Appoggiatura

  • Plus all benefits outlined below

  • Invitation for two people to attend a tech rehearsal for either Appoggiatura or Looking over the President’s Shoulder
  • Plus all benefits outlined below
Character Circle ($100)
  • Invitation for two people to the James Still Celebration Finale
  • Recognition all season in the IRT program
  • Priority seating at public play reading events 

    Should you choose to make a gift to the James Still Society online, please select "one-time gift" from the drop down menu.

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James Still is an elected member of the National Theatre Conference and a Fellow in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and a four-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He is also a winner of the William Inge Festival's "Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award," the Todd McNerney National Playwriting Prize at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the Orlin Corey Medallion for Sustained Excellence from the Children's Theatre Foundation of America, and the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Playwright Award for Distinguished Body of Work. Three of his plays have received the Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. His plays have been developed and workshopped at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute Lab, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, the New Harmony Project, The Lark, New Visions/New Voices at the Kennedy Center, the Bonderman New Play Symposium, the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, the Telluride Playwright's Festival, and the Colorado New Play Summit.

Most recent world premieres of his plays include Before We Forgot How to Dream: April 4, 1968 at Indiana Repertory Theatre (2015) and Appoggiatura at the Denver Center Theatre (2015) and The Widow Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. (2015). Others: The House that Jack Built at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Illegal Use of Hands premiered at American Blues Theater in Chicago. I Love to Eat a solo play about American culinary icon James Beard premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Portland Center Stage. The Heavens Are Hung In Black reopened the newly renovated Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C., to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. The Velvet Rut premiered at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri and the Illusion Theatre in MinneapolisInterpreting William premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. New plays include Miranda. His 10-minute play When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives a Bird the Bird has had readings at several 10-minute play festivals and is a current finalist for the 2015 Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

His other plays include A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters for Cornerstone's Faith-Based Theatre Cycle in Los Angeles (which premiered at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre), And Then They Came for Me, translated into several languages and produced around the world—including a command performance at the House of Commons in London, in an event hosted by Vanessa Redgrave—a production by the U.S. Army at a base in StuttgartGermany—and a production at the International School in Macau, China. Iron Kisses which premiered at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York and has been produced across the country from Portland Stage in Maine to Company of Fools in Idaho. Searching For Eden which premiered at the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City and recently ran at The Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida and at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in Scotland.

Since its world premiere at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Looking Over The President's Shoulder has had many productions including Ford's Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Vermont Stage Company, Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock and the Barter Theatre in Virginia. Still also wrote a commissioned short play called Octophobia for the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville which the editors of the Smith and Kraus anthologies have published in their "Best Women's Stage Monologues."

Other plays include Amber Waves (the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.) which was recently produced in Tokyo and in Flint, Michigan, He Held Me Grand (People's Light and Theatre Company and the IRT), and A Village Fable (based on a novella by John Gardner) which was commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, premiered at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, produced at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, and in Switzerland at the Zurich Young People's Theatre. Hush: An Interview with America was co-commissioned and premiered by Childsplay in Tempe, AZ, and Metro Theater Company in St. Louis and continues to be produced many times a season.

Still's solo performance piece The Velocity of Gary (Not His Real Name) premiered in New York at the Ensemble Studio Theater, and he performed it across the country. It was later produced off-Broadway at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, and more recently at Tricklock Productions in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His stage play was later turned into the feature film The Velocity of Gary, for which Still also wrote the screenplay.

Still is also a working director in the theatre and most recently directed productions of RedThe Mystery of Irma VepOther Desert CitiesGod of CarnageI Love to EatDoubtMary's WeddingBecky's New CarRabbit HoleThe ImmigrantDinner With Friends, and many others at theaters across the country as well as at the Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans. Still’s work in television and film and has been nominated for five Emmy's, a Television Critics Association Award, and was twice a finalist for the Humanitas Prize. He was a producer/head writer for the series Paz airing daily on both TLC and Discovery Kids.

For Nickelodeon he was the writer and story editor for Maurice Sendak's long-running Little Bear, and the Bill Cosby series Little Bill. He created a new series for Amsterdam-based Telescreen adapted from the Frogbooks by Max Velthuijs, and he also was one of the screenwriters for The Little Bear Movie. Still wrote the first Dutch-produced feature film for children The Miffy Movie based on Dick Bruna's Miffy books.

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As part of this unique celebration, the IRT is proud to present two works by James in the 2017-2018 season: Appoggiatura and Looking Over the President's Shoulder. Additionally, James will direct The Originalist. Learn more about these productions by clicking here or on each image below.

The Originalist
Directed by James Still
October 17-November12

By James Still
March 7-March 31

Looking Over the President's Shoulder
By James Still
March 27-May 6
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  • Miranda—Workshop at Fresh Ink 2014, Minneapolis. Commissioned by Illusion Theater, Minneapolis. 2015 Runner-up: 2015 Todd McNerney New Play Prize / Spoleto. Finalist for 2015 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference (World Premiere: February 2017 at Illusion Theater, Minneapolis; Second Production at Indiana Repertory Theatre, April 2017)

  • Before We Forgot How to Dream: April 4, 1968—Workshop at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Dec 2013. Commissioned by Indiana Repertory Theatre (World Premiere: October 2015 at Indiana Repertory Theatre)

  • Appoggiatura—Workshop at Colorado New Play Summit 2014 and Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival 2013. Preview Production March 2013 Launch Pad, UC-Santa Barbara. Commissioned by Denver Center Theatre (World Premiere: February 2015 at Denver Center Theatre Company). Nominated for Outstanding New Play/Musical - Henry Awards, Colorado Theatre Guild (2015)

  • The Widow Lincoln—Workshop at Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C., Nov 2013. Commissioned by Ford's Theatre (World Premiere: February 2015 at Ford's Theatre)

  • When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives a Bird the Bird—Finalist for the Heideman Award with Actors Theatre of Louisville. New Harmony Project 2014. Red Bull Theatre's Short New Play Festival 2014. StayAwake! Theatre Company/Denver Prism Festival 2014. Prologue Theatre /Landmark Festival, Chicago 2015. Briefs/That Uppity Theatre Company, St. Louis 2016.

  • The House That Jack Built—Premiered November 2012 at Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis. 2012 Winner of 2012 Todd McNerney New Play Prize / Spoleto

  • Illegal Use of Hands—Premiered 2012 at American Blues Theater in Chicago

  • I Love to Eat—One man show about culinary icon James Beard - Premiered 2011 at Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis. 2012: Round House Theatre in Washington, DC. 2013: Portland Center Stage in Portland, OR.

  • The Heavens Are Hung In Black—Commissioned and Premiered at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. 2012: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL.

  • A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters—Commissioned and Premiered by Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles

  • Interpreting William—Premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis

  • The Velvet Rut—Premiered at the Unicorn in Kansas City, M.O. and Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis

  • Iron Kisses—Premiered at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, N.Y.

  • Looking Over The President's Shoulder—Premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis

  • He Held Me Grand—Premiered at People's Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, PA and at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis

  • Amber Waves—(one-act version) Premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, (full length) Premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

  • Searching For Eden—Premiered at the American Heartland Theater in Kansas City, MO

  • The Gentleman From Indiana (adapted from the novel by Booth Tarkington)—Premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

  • A Village Fable—(adapted from the novella In the Suicide Mountains by John Gardner), Music by Michael Keck; one act version premiered at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, full length premiered at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis

  • And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank—Premiered at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ

  • Hush: An Interview With America—Premiered at Childsplay in Tempe, AZ and at Metro Theatre Company in St. Louis

  • The Velveteen Rabbit—(play) premiered at the Omaha Theatre for Young People

  • The Velveteen Rabbit—Music by Jimmy Roberts, Premiered at Theatreworks USA, New York City

  • Dreaming on Tiptoe—Premiered at East Coast Arts in New Rochelle, NY