Friday, February 3, 2023

The Bridge Initiative & Estrella Mountain Community College Launch Partnership with LIKE HEAVEN, world premiere by Arizona playwright Elaine Romero

from our firends at The Bridge Initiative:

The Bridge Initiative will be in residence this spring at Estrella Mountain Community College, the inauguration of a new professional/educational theatre partnership launching with the world premiere of Arizona playwright Elaine Romero’s “Like Heaven.

“This play is about people who are becoming - they haven’t arrived yet, they are in process,” says Romero. She wanted to construct a story exploring female relationships, and what dreams look like for these women living in small town America. “Women can really have each other, but we don’t always,” she explains. Brenda Jean Foley, Producing Artistic Director of The Bridge Initiative, says she has wanted to produce a Romero play since participating in the virtual RomeroFest hosted by Arizona Theatre Company in 2021. “When Elaine shared this script, it grabbed me as a wonderful showcase for Bridge artists, and a deceptively challenging play. I’ve been delighted to discover new layers, new laughs, and new ouch moments every read.” She adds, “It’s rare to find a piece that feels both timely and timeless.”

The Bridge Initiative was founded in 2016 with a focus on gender parity. Though the arts disproportionately attract female students and patrons, executive leadership and decision-makers locally and nationwide are predominantly male. In answer, The Bridge’s creative teams (including director, playwright, actors, designers, stage management) are always majority female. They have presented full productions and new play/film festivals at Tempe Center for the Arts, new play workshops and readings, an ongoing talk show/musical theatre cabaret series at ASU Kerr, and more. The company also has a stated value of artist compensation, offering some of the most competitive pay rates in the Valley. Like Heaven features several union contracts which benefit freelance artists through pension and health insurance payments as well as nationally established salary and work condition requirements. These contracts are only consistently offered in the region by two other organizations: Arizona Theatre Company and Phoenix Theatre Company

Tim Butterfield, Coordinator of Fine Arts Facilities with Estrella Mountain Community College welcomes the opportunity for students to engage with professionals. The partnership between The Bridge Initiative and the college enables the students to engage with every aspect of rehearsals and production, serving as assistant director, understudies, backstage crew, and more, while receiving course credit. They will observe firsthand a professional process, expectations, and work ethic. And one quarter of the ticket revenue will be contributed to a scholarship fund that will be offered to a female-identifying student at Estrella Mountain Community College.

CONTENT NOTE: Includes mature themes and adult language. The production will run May 6-13 at Estrella Mountain Community College Fine Arts Center, 3000 North Dysart Road, Avondale, AZ 85392. Tickets $15-25 at

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