Kevin Broccoli has made a name for himself in Rhode Island’s theater scene. The prolific playwright has penned over 30 plays and has staged 10 productions in the past year. As a fresh voice, actor and stalwart supporter of showcasing local talent, Broccoli has built a strong following in the state’s brimming theater community. His aptly named Epic Theatre Company, amidst steady growth, has been somewhat nomadic, mounting shows in the black box space at Artists’ Exchange, William Hall Library and 2nd Story, among other spaces, most recently settling at Zabinski Music Studio at Hope Artiste Village. Artists’ Exchange has also seen steady growth in its near decade of existence, marked most recently by a spurt in the opening of secondary venue Theatre 82. This additional venue has allowed the organization to double its offerings of programs and events, acting as a growing resource to artists, theater companies, musicians and the broader community. Come September, Epic Theatre Company and Artists’ Exchange will officially join forces, as Epic moves into the black box theatre space at Artists’ Exchange, becoming the organization’s first ever-resident theater company.
As a resident theatre company, Epic will take advantage of the benefits of the established venue that Artists’ Exchange is. Its productions will receive operating support such as staffing, box office handling and promotional backing. Artists’ Exchange will benefit as well, with Epic helping to keep the line-up lively at its two venues, as Epic will also have the opportunity to stage larger scale productions at Theatre 82.
“Kevin is such a pleasure to work with, and is such a talent, it’s no surprise that he has such a great following,” says McKenna-Yeaw, Director of Artists’ Exchange. “He’s the perfect addition to our growing organization and we look forward to seeing where this takes us.”
Epic Theatre Company’s first season at Artists’ Exchange will kick off with Martin McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane, a black comedy centering around an eccentric protagonist’s decades long search for his missing hand. His stop at a sleazy motel is where all of the play’s action unfolds, with the motel receptionist and small-time con artist couple becoming ensnared in escalating events involving hostages, gunfire and a homemade explosive. A Behanding will run Sept. 13 through the 28th at Theatre 82.
In terms of future productions, Broccoli plans to focus on contemporary work, especially Rhode Island premieres, works by women playwrights and plays that deal with LGTB issues, while maintaining his priority of showcasing local talent.
“Epic has always had a wonderful relationship with Artists’ Exchange,” said Broccoli. “Their support and enthusiasm has allowed us to showcase some of our best work on their stage. To be able to create a partnership between Epic Theatre and this terrific organization that will give the company a permanent home to rehearse, workshop, and perform will allow our group to progress to another level. We’re thrilled to start producing theater for the intimate space at Artists’ Exchange along with the brand new black box space at Theatre 82.”
Artists’ Exchange is located at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston and Theatre 82 is located at 82 Rolfe Square. For more information, visit www.artists-exchange.org.