Juniper Productions made a splash—pun very much intended—last fall with Cocktail Plays, a series of liquor-themed vignettes performed at Philadelphia Distilling in Northern Liberties. The Society Hill–based company has planned a similarly unique staging for Splinter and Crack, their first full-length theatrical production.
Splinter and Crack, written by Jessica Bedford and directed by Barrymore Award winner Harriet Power, explores the complicated relationship between a prominent academic and her adult daughter. The play will be mounted from April 26 through May 13 at Hamilton Studios in the burgeoning Spring Arts district. This raw space, developed and owned by Arts & Crafts Holdings, has never hosted a theatrical performance.
That fact doesn’t faze executive producer Sonya Aronowitz, who set out to disrupt traditional expectations. “As a producer, I want to open up the world of theater and provide an immersive experience for the people of Philadelphia,” she tells Time Out Philadelphia. “It’s really important to think carefully about the venues and to not think immediately about producing in typical spaces.”
This method has been successful for Juniper, with Aronowitz reporting sold-out performances during the run of Cocktail Plays, including several first-time theatergoers. Audience members responded well to the relaxed environment at Philadelphia Distilling, often lingering after the show to enjoy spirits and mingle with the performers. “The audience has been through a shared experience, and for all of us to part immediately is a missed opportunity to build community in a fun way,” Aronowitz says.
Several sponsored events are already planned during the run of Splinter and Crack, including a catered opening night party on April 28 and a beer tasting at neighboring Love City Brewery on May 4. The final performance, on Mother’s Day, will be followed by an afternoon tea that’s BYOM (Bring Your Own Mom). Patrons will have the chance to interact with the cast, which includes local favorites Mary Elizabeth Scallen, Julianna Zinkel and Akeem Davis.
Aronowitz also sees great potential for future productions in the Spring Arts district: “The developers have been really supportive of bringing in a new creative class. I’m looking forward to seeing if we can extend our lease here into the Fringe. It’s a great space for art.”
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