Sarah O'Connell

Las Vegas


A veiled young woman and her friend in the dark looking anxiously at something on a cell phone

Julet Lindo and Natalie Senecal in Veils by Tom Coash. Photo by Axis deBruyn

The Asylum Theatre has been an oasis in the desert for contemporary playwrights for almost 20 years. In 2002 I relocated from San Francisco to Las Vegas where, in the land of showgirls and shrimp cocktails, I was amazed to find a company that had been dedicated to the development and production of new work since 1997. In 2003, I was asked to serve as their artistic director. The Asylum brings playwrights from around the USA to collaborate with local artists on the development and production of their new work, chosen by submissions from around the country. In a time when companies are afraid to take a risk on new plays, The Asylum Theatre has offered rare opportunities to playwrights (both emerging and award-winning) to innovate, discover, and amplify their voice. Our community, which is often starved for artistic nourishment, has developed a taste for new plays. The Asylum Theatre, at times with the support of the Nevada Arts Council (NAC) and the NEA, has inspired other companies in the area to take on the challenge of offering residencies for playwrights and new work competitions of their own. Our artists are as diverse as the ever-changing Vegas population, and we reflect and celebrate the American experience by telling the stories of people from all walks of life. We believe that you are what you eat, and in the land of many tourist buffets, you should always EAT MORE ART!