The Play’s the Thing


THE PLAY’S THE THING: New Play Reading at Heartland

A new play reading of a full-length play in development, using Heartland actors playing the roles, simply staged on stools on Heartland’s stage. Our 2022 new play is SOPHIA HAYDEN DESERVES BETTER by visiting playwright Stephanie Walker ,  selected by the Artistic Director.


In 1891 a brilliant 23-year-old woman won an architecture contest to design the Woman’s Building for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. What should have been the start to a flourishing career in architecture became career-ending. Throughout the two-year process of building The Woman’s Building, the architect quietly endured bullying, micromanaging and undermining until she finally spoke up. In a time when women were defined as physically and intellectually weaker than men, her concerns were not only not heard, but she was sent to a sanitarium. Diagnosed with melancholia due to overexertion. Silenced. After the fair, her building was destroyed and she never built another building again. Her name was Sophia Hayden and she deserves better.

Invited credentialed responders help the audience understand play process and structure. 

Two performances: December 10 and 11, 2023.  $5 Donation at the door.
Reservations, please! Flex Passes do not apply to this grant-sponsored event.

“I’ll have grounds

More relative than this —

the play’s the thing

Wherein I’ll catch

the conscience of the King.

                                                               -Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2


2018 Reading of Marie Kohler’s BOSWELL, featuring Brian Mani and directed by Rhy Lovell. BOSWELL went on to perform in the Fringe Festival and now Off-Broadway New York, December 2022.


2019 Reading of Doug Post’s A SPY IN SPITE OF HIMSELF, directed by Rhys Lovell.



Made possible by the Mirza Arts & Culture Grant of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

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