Performing Arts

Director Louis Tyrrell launches Theatre Lab at FAU

Playwright Israel Horovitz (left) joins forces with Theatre Lab founder Louis Tyrrell for a Playwrights’ Forum at FAU.
Playwright Israel Horovitz (left) joins forces with Theatre Lab founder Louis Tyrrell for a Playwrights’ Forum at FAU.

Louis Tyrrell, the founding artistic director of both the award-winning Florida Stage and the Theatre at Arts Garage, is about to begin a new challenge with the founding of Theatre Lab, a professional company that will create its work on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Tyrrell, acclaimed for his work in developing and directing new plays at Florida Stage, is initially operating out of a 150-seat black box space in the Parliament Hall residential facility while a permanent home for Theatre Lab is developed.

The 2015-16 programming will consist of developmental showcases for plays and musicals, with full productions to come the second season. Making Musicals, a musical theater concert/reading series, begins with Fugitive Songs by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen Oct. 17-18, followed by Vote for Me: A Musical Debate by Drew Farnarola and Scott Elmegreen Oct. 24-25, a musical to be announced Oct. 31-Nov. 1, and Shining Lives by Jessica Thebus, Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert Nov. 7-8. Admission is $20 ($10 for students) or $64 for all four musicals.

Play Slam, another facet of Theatre Lab’s programming, is a weekly series of readings Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. featuring post-reading discussions with playwrights, directors and casts. It begins Oct. 21 with Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs, followed by The Downpour by Caitlin Parrish on Oct. 28, American Hero by Bess Wohl on Nov. 4 and Soldier’s Heart by Tammy Ryan on Nov. 11. Admission is $10 ($5 for students).

The Playwrights’ Forum is a series of lectures, workshops and master classes, with playwrights including Israel Horovitz, Marsha Norman, Steven Dietz, John Guare, Deborah Zoe Laufer and Lauren Gunderson. It launches at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 with Horovitz. Admission is $35 ($10 for students). Norman will be the keynote speaker when the Theatre Lab stages its first New Play Festival at FAU Dec. 7-13.

In addition to providing FAU students with professional experience,Theatre Lab also has an educational outreach program led by associate artistic director Matt Stabile and funded by the Hecksher Foundation to serve students in grades three to 12.

Tyrell, who has been named the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Arts, is thrilled with the possibilities of having a new play-centric theater on the FAU campus.

“Doing thought-provoking work is central to the mission of any university. These plays run the gamut of issues, ideas and subjects,” he said. “In the end, it will be all about text, virtuosic perrormances and sharing stories in ways that will touch all of the campus.”

For more information on Theatre Lab, call 561-297-4784 or email

Christine Dolen: 305-376-3733, @christinedolen