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UI Department of Theatre Arts Students Travel to Reading, Pennsylvania for Production Research

By September 25, 2019 October 2nd, 2019 No Comments

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts is pleased to present its first Mainstage production of the season, Lynn Nottage’s Sweat. Over the summer, theatre arts graduate students Sarah Lacy Hamilton (director) and Morgan Grambo (dramaturg) traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania to conduct research in preparation for the upcoming production of Sweat.

“We spent three full and inspiring days in Reading, where we were able to visit many of the same places that Nottage did, and meet many of the same people that contributed to her research process for Sweat,” said Sarah Lacy Hamilton. “My production research began with an email to Travis Ballenger, an alumnus of my high school and undergraduate program, who happened to be Nottage’s assistant during the creation of Sweat. His enthusiastic and helpful response led to our most valuable connection, Santo D. Marabella. Described as Nottage’s “fixer” in Reading, Marabella is a professor at Moravian College with an MBA and a Doctorate of Social Work. As well as being versed in business, leadership, and social work, Marabella is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, and film commissioner of ReadingFilm, which he founded in 2006 to attract filmmakers to Reading. Marabella was invaluable as the guide for our visit.”

This travel was made possible through funding from the University of Iowa.

About Sweat

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Lynn Nottage’s Sweat centers on a group of friends at their go-to bar in Reading, Pennsylvania. In the year 2000, layoffs and lockouts threaten their factory floor jobs, thrusting them into a bitter fight for survival. Produced across the country to critical and popular acclaim, Sweat considers the effects of America’s economic decline and deindustrialization alongside a heart-wrenching examination of friendship, race, class, and trust within this community of family and friends.

Performances will take place October 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 at 8:00 p.m. and October 13 at 2:00 p.m. in the David Thayer Theatre, UI Theatre Building.

This production contains strong language, simulated drug and alcohol use, and depicted violence.

Post-Show Discussion

There will be a post-show discussion immediately following the performance on Sunday, October 13 led by Morgan Grambo, dramaturg of the production. Additional details regarding panelists will be made available at soon.

If you are interested in talking with members of the artistic team or cast, here are several who would be happy to discuss the production:

Please contact me directly at if you are interested in photos of the cast and artistic team at work, and I will work with you to find a time that works for everyone. At least 24-hours’ notice is required for a photographer to join the rehearsal.


$20 Adults
$15 Seniors (65+)

$10 Students & Youth
$5 UI Students (with valid ID)

Tickets are available through the Hancher Box Office at 319.335.1160 or 1.800.HANCHER or online at

About the Director

Sarah Lacy Hamilton is a third-year Directing MFA candidate at the University of Iowa. Originally from South Carolina, she relocated to Dallas in 2010, where she graduated with a BFA from Southern Methodist University. Past directing credits include Blackberry: A BurialHIR, and Nothing But Days at UI; Dry Land at Upstart Productions; and Gruesome Playground InjuriesJulius Caesar, and True West with her Dallas company, House Party Theatre.

About the Dramaturg

Morgan Grambo is pursuing an MFA in Dramaturgy with a focus in feminist theatre. University of Iowa credits include The Wolves (AD/Dramaturg), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (AD/Dramaturg), Bell at the Back of Her Throat by Courtney Meaker (Dramaturg), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Dramaturg), Love Bird by K.T. Peterson (Dramaturg), Found by Margot Connolly (Director), and Twilight Bowl by Rebecca Gilman (Dramaturg). Upcoming: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, adapted by Sarah Ruhl (Dramaturg).

For more information contact:
Kristan Hellige, Marketing Specialist
The University of Iowa

Division of Performing Arts, Theatre & Dance
93 E. Burlington Street, 1400P VOX
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Hancher Box Office in advance at 319.335.1158.


The mission of the Department of Theatre Arts is to sustain a world-class theatre arts program where we develop new work and new artists through a creative, collaborative process. With respect for the great global traditions, we push the boundaries of theatre, using sophisticated tools and technologies. Provide space for diversity and to foster social responsibility and change. Nurture student artists and their work, prepare graduates for professional opportunities, support faculty as professional artists and scholars, and engage, delight, and challenge audiences. For more information on upcoming productions, please visit us online at or You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook and Instagram!