Glowing reviews for Columbia Student production of The Great Divide

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03-Oct-16
 
The Great Divide, written by Alix Sobler ’17, directed by Rory McGregor ‘17 and produced by Georgina Ratnatunga ’17, received glowing reviews during its run at London's Finborough Theatre. “Rory McGregor’s rough-edged, vital production unfailingly grips,” wrote Sam Marlowe in The Times. “Its relevance to modern industrial exploitation and the mass movement of people has a fierce urgency.”
 
The Great Divide recounts the historic events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, when 146 sweatshop workers died after the fire broke out. The majority of the workers were women, many of whom had come to America to escape oppressive countries. Sobler’s play focuses on the stories of a few of these individuals to explore topical questions of immigration and opportunity in “a powerful and passionate reminder that small lives can make a big difference,” according to Stephen Bates in The Reviews Hub.
 
In 2016, Sobler won the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award for The Great Divide. She has had work read or produced in theatres across North America including Theatre Seven, Chicago; Mad & Merry Theater Company, New York City; Winnipeg Jewish Theatre; Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg; Brown Trinity Playwright’s Rep, Providence, Rhode Island; and The Tank, New York City. Her play The Secret Annex was produced in 2014 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, received a public reading at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2015 and was produced at the Segal Centre in Montreal earlier this year. It is published by Scirroco Drama.
 
McGregor is an Artistic Associate of Classic Stage Company and a Directing Mentor at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and will be joining the Roundabout Theatre in the autumn as the Artistic Apprentice. In New York City, his productions include Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead, and two of his own original works, The Unfinished Life of Bertolt Brecht and Ward Six (all at the Schapiro Theatre, Columbia Stages). This is the second collaboration between Sobler and McGregor, who previously collaborated on sleep wake hope and then, a short play based on an e. e. cummings poem.

Ratnatunga is the former general manager at the Finborough Theatre, where her producing credits include Arthur Miller’s The American Clock, The Soft of Her Palm by Chris Dunkley, and Portraits by William Douglas Home. During her time as a Producing MFA Candidate at Columbia University, she has interned in the producing/managing offices for Fun Home, The Humans, Blackbird, Crucible, Bright Star, and Shuffle Along, and produced two Columbia MFA directing thesis plays, Undrown’d and Outlying Islands. She is passionate about exposing British audiences to new American playwrights.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.