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For Jim Martin, a theater-writing workshop focused on the subject of families offered him the chance to bring together his passions.
In his day job, Martin is the principal at Riley Elementary School in Salt Lake City, while after work he directs the Wasatch Theatre Company.
After years as an educator, in 2014 Martin became a foster parent and then adopted his son, Jayden. What Martin learned as he became a single parent is the subject of a monologue being performed as part of "Intersections II: Forging Family Through More Than DNA," a co-production of Art Access and Plan-B Theatre.
"Parenting is a totally different set of requirements," Martin says. "Reality really smacked me in the face, harder then I thought it was going to. All the skills I thought I possessed didn't prepare me."
Just as much of a surprise, Martin says, was the joy that has transformed his life.
Martin's story, along with eight other monologues, will receive a staged reading at Art Access on April 28-29. Playwright Eric Samuelsen, a former theater professor at Brigham Young University, led the workshop and is directing the reading.
Few of the writers knew each other before the workshop, but "Eric has found a way to weave their stories together as if each of the writers is from the same big family," says Jerry Rapier, Plan-B's artistic director.
The works explore a range of experiences, including the stories of gay, lesbian and transgender families and their allies. The workshop offered the chance for writers to develop meaningful personal stories, while the reading offers a public opportunity to celebrate new voices in the arts community, says Elise Butterfield, programs director for Art Access.
'Intersections II: Forging Family Through More Than DNA'
The staged reading, a co-production of Art Access and Plan-B Theatre, features actors Kirt Bateman, Christy Summerhays, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, Susanna Florence and Barrett Ogden, bringing to the stage monologues written by Shauna Brock, Dave Hanson, Louise Mathews, Jim Martin, Jaxton Mullineaux, Melissa Rasmussen, Lorelei Rutledge, John Wilkes and an additional writer, who is anonymous.
When • Friday-Saturday, April 28-29, 7 p.m., with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday
Where • Art Access, 230 S. 500 West #125, Salt Lake City
Tickets • The event is free, but requires tickets; available at planbtheatre.org
More local playwrights • Wasatch Theatre Company presents its annual Page-to-Stage festival, in partnership with The Bee, June 16-18 at the Rose Wagner, featuring five short plays inspired by five photographs. More details at http://wasatchtheatre.org/Page-to-Stage_Festival.html.