Interview: The Hub Theatre’s New Artistic Director Matt Bassett Looks Ahead to 2018-19 Season

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In a recent telephone interview, Matt Bassett, Hub Theatre’s new artistic director, discussed the company’s upcoming season. In shaping the season, his first as Hub artistic director, Bassett said that the 2018-19 season would be “both familiar and new to longtime Hub fans. It will be of plays and events that are culturally specific and with universal appeal.”

The Hub Theatre's new artistic director, Matt Bassett. Photo courtesy of Matt Bassett.
The Hub Theatre’s new artistic director, Matt Bassett. Photo courtesy of Matt Bassett.

The Hub’s new season will continue “the mission of exploring connections within our common humanity, whether within cultures, friend groups, nations, or families, and using these connections to nurture hope through adversity,” said Bassett.

The forthcoming Hub Theatre season will include productions on its traditional mainstage at the New School in Fairfax and will explore other locations in an effort to reach out to new audiences. “We plan to have important conversations that challenge how we face our past and present, relying on those we love to move into the future,” Bassett added.

In the spring of 2019, the Hub will produce The Burn by Philip Dawkins, a contemporary examination of The Crucible using social media as its lens. For Bassett, Dawkins brings a dynamic style to represent honest teens going through identity crises, online bullying, with an extra charge of teenage rivalries. “It feels like a great kickoff to the new era of Hub,” noted Bassett.

In the summer of 2019, the Hub will present the first professional company production of Sam Hamashima’s American Spies and Other Homegrown Fables. The piece is about a Japanese-American family as they learn of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The family has to choose between family traditions and survival. According to Bassett, Spies is heartbreaking, comforting, and utterly engaging.

The Hub season will also include two long-standing programs: The New Play Festival, featuring readings of new plays by professional playwrights, and the Emerging Writers Festival, where professional actors and directors present new scripts from local college and high school playwrights.

Bassett then discussed the new SPOKES series at the Hub. With SPOKES, “the theatre company will explore plays that engage with connections to the world around us and our inner identities in a new series of play reading events happening off-site.” There are two events planned for the initial SPOKES series. While scripts have not yet been announced, the plays are expected to connect to Trans Awareness Month in November 2018, and a family-friendly project during the December 2018 holiday period.

The SPOKES series events will not be at the Hub’s traditional mainstage venue. While details are not yet final, Bassett indicated the holiday project can be expected in Reston, Virginia and the Trans Awareness Month event likely in DC.

Bassett also formally introduced Kelsey Mesa as the Hub’s new associate artistic director. Mesa has a long connection with the Hub. She directed Hub productions of The Pavilion, The Magi, and Wish List. Mesa is also a company member at Taffety Punk Theatre Company as well as the Manager of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

As we concluded our conversation, Bassett added, “In these times of division and struggle, our work this year aims to bring our audience together to celebrate diversity, acknowledge hardship, and move forward with hope.” And the Hub’s sense of magical realism and intimate human condition stories will be part of all of it.

The Burn, by Philip Dawkins, directed by Matt Bassett, will play April 26 – May 12, 2019.
American Spies and Other Homegrown Fables, by Sam Hamashima, will play July 12 – August 4, 2019.

To learn more about The Hub Theatre’s upcoming season, go online.