After six years of producing fresh, inclusive, and unique theatrical productions in Utah Valley, An Other Theater Company (AOTC) is closing its doors. The company is honored to be presenting such a deeply important work as its final show. The 54th Step, by local playwright Jesse Nepivoda, aims to shed light on the importance of LGBTQIA+ protection laws and advocate for the rights of the transgender community. In both its text and its presentation, it explores themes of identity, justice, politics, and what we’re willing to give up (or not) in the fight for queer liberation.
The 54th Step was developed as part of AOTC’s First Annual New Play Festival in early 2022. Nepivoda’s piece follows one determined state legislator, Amanda Becker, as she works over the course of one day to get her anti-bullying bill signed into law, even if the conservative legislators she is up against are concerned that the bill is too “pro-LGBTQ.” While the show does not explicitly take place within Utah, audiences will recognize the strong religious influence on politics within the play.
Director Sammee Jackman has assembled a cast of four trans actors to step into six different roles, and the creative team of the production is predominantly queer. At a time when LGBTQ rights are being eliminated or are under threat all across the United States, The 54th Step celebrates the complexity and courage of those fighting for dignity and safety for all. This production is a powerful example of “nothing about us without us.”
It feels a fitting story, and fitting people, to close the theatre out with.
Since COVID in 2020, and losing their performance space in 2022, An Other Theater has worked hard to continue creating inclusive theatre in their conservative home. But after struggling with these and other challenges, the board of directors and company leadership made the difficult decision to close this chapter.
“I don’t quite think of it as something ending,” says Liz Whittaker, current Artistic Director of AOTC. “It’s more like our work is…complete. This theatre played an important role in the community, especially in Utah County, and that impact is lasting. We were able to foster talent and tell stories and help people find a sense of belonging. Now it’s time for everyone who has worked for and loved AOTC to carry that work into the rest of their lives and careers.”
Briana Lindsay Fisher, current Executive Director of AOTC says, “I hope people who found a home at An Other Theater will continue creating safe havens in the community and share the magic we created together at AOTC.” An Other Theater Company looks forward to welcoming audiences to a moving production, one last time.
Visit anothertheater.org/tickets for ticket details.