Virtual Theater: NC 10by10 Play Festival

Actors rehearse “The Blue Bird,” written by Eric Weil and directed by Thom Haynes, top right, a Cary Playwrights’ Forum board member.

By going virtual, the “NC 10by10 Play Festival” is ensuring Triangle theater fans can still enjoy the next best thing to a live show.

Presented as a pre-recorded event because of COVID-19, the annual summer tradition produced by the Cary Playwrights’ Forum and Chapel Hill/Carrboro-based OdysseyStage Theater will go on as planned but in a new medium.

“I hope that people who have missed live theater will be able to watch this and kind of get a taste of it again, even though it’s not quite the same,” said Thom Haynes, a Cary Playwrights’ Forum board member and organizer for the event. “It’s like our digital show, but it still should be a lot of fun and make people smile and laugh in the midst of these difficult times we’re living in.

Instead of buying a ticket to sit in the audience, a suggested donation of $5 will provide access to the production for a 24-hour period starting at 8 p.m. on Sept. 18-19 and Sept. 27-28. Acted out and viewed at home instead of the theater, Haynes says a digital offering makes the show more accessible to its audiences than ever before.

“One of the best parts is that you can watch at your own time and you don’t have to watch it at a certain time,” Haynes said. “You can watch it from anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be local to us.”

True to the festival’s namesake, the two theater companies will collaborate to produce five 10-minute plays each that are part of a single production. All plays were written by North Carolina playwrights and favor comedy, but incorporate drama and other genres, Haynes says.

The Cary Playwrights’ Forum will produce:

  • “The Blue Bird” written by Eric Weil and directed by Thom Haynes
  • “The Kindness of Strangers” written by Mike Brannon and directed by Noelle Azarelo
  •  “Twist and Doubt” written by Evan Daane and directed by Chloe Anderson
  • “Something Old, Something New” written by Gabrielle Vizcaino and directed by Michael Parker
  • “Rain Like Tears” written by Elijah Moore and directed by Lucia Foster.

The festival, originally known as the “10X10 in the Triangle,” began at The Carrboro Arts Center 15 years ago. Since 2018, the performance has been a collaboration between the Cary Playwrights’ Forum and OdysseyStage.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Actors rehearse “The Kindness of Strangers,” written by Mike Brannon and directed by Noelle Azarelo.

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