Scranton Players Present ‘The Porches Project,’ Co...

    The University of Scranton Players’ production “The Porches Project” will run May 3-5. Seating is limited. For more information, contact the Players box office at 570-941-4318 or visit at
    April 26, 2019

    The University of Scranton Players will close their 2018-19 season with the innovative, site-specific show “The Porches Project,” created by Jennifer Rhoads and University of Scranton Theater Program Director Hank Willenbrink. The show, directed by Rhoads, runs May 3-5 on porches of homes in the Historic Hill Section of Scranton. The performances begin at 6 p.m. Friday’s performance corresponds with First Friday.

    Audiences will meet at Immaculate Conception Church at 6 p.m., and tour guides will lead the audience through the show’s planned route. Admission is free, but attendance is limited to 50 people per performance.

    Much like a theatrical house tour, “The Porches Project” will take the audience on a series of guided paths through the Hill, stopping at residences to see a series of six original short plays written by University of Scranton students and alumni. The plays address a variety of subjects that have shaped the lives of past and present hill section residents, including the 1970s flushing of the mines, young sisters affected by the drug epidemic in the 2000s, the resettling of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees, and much more. Rhoads and Willenbrink spoke with Hill Section residents through community story gathering sessions and interviews to gather these true stories that the playwrights then used for the foundation of their plays.

    This project was inspired by Jane Jacobs, a Scranton native and urban theorist, who emphasized the value of being engaged in your community. Jacobs originated the term “eyes on the street” and believed that the life of a community is dependent on having residents who are engaged and paying attention. “Porches” aims to do just that by connecting University members with its community roots through bringing audiences on a tour of the community while educating them about the community.

    The production features Minori Koga of Scranton; James Pennington ’16 of West Wyoming, Catherine Karpiak of Scranton; Kayla Oberholtzer of Stevens; Ali Basalyga of Scranton; Cara Charles of Yardley; Ben McFadden of Mount Carmel; Emily DeMouth of Hillsborough, New Jersey; Samantha Gurn of Brackney; Myles Spencer of Brooklyn, New York; Julia Consiglio of Oceanside, New York; Hannah Mackes of Tafton; and Po-d Davidson, a resident of Scranton. Basalyga is a graduate of West Scranton High School, Pennington is a graduate of Wyoming Area Secondary Center, Karpiak is a graduate of Wyoming Seminary, and Gurn is a graduate of Montrose High School.

    Playwrights include Koga; Meg Sweeney of Scranton; Alex Wasalinko ’17 of Scranton; Christine Wasylenko of Lansdale; Jade Williams ’17 of Scranton; and Nick Yanni of Scranton. Sweeney and Yanni are graduates of Scranton Preparatory School, and Wasalinko and Williams are graduates of The University of Scranton.

    For more information about “The Porches Project,” contact the Players box office at 570-941-4318 or visit at For physical disability accommodations, please call the box office or email

    For more information about the University Players, contact or visit the Players on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    About the Players: The University of Scranton Players is an academic theatre program that brings exceptional theatre to Northeastern Pennsylvania every season. The Players’ productions feature University of Scranton students in a mix of classical and contemporary works under the direction and mentorship of award-winning faculty and guest artists. Rehearsing the Porches Project are, from left, Kayla Oberholtzer and Catherine Karpiak.

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