An Artists' Passion

Amid the backdrop of today’s hate-filled rhetoric and Birmingham’s fractured past, RMTC is working to spark world-changing conversations – one individual at a time. For through great art, we explore issues and emotions too difficult for mere words. And, this exploration opens us to consider the life of another – our fellow man.


Festival Details

Think globally. Act Locally.

Each year, RMTC hosts a festival of powerful work that inspires, engages, and transforms audiences. With playwright Q&As, staged readings of new works, community conversations, and commissioned pieces from young artists, RMTC leads our city in a human rights experience unlike any other.

From a national call for submissions, our committee selects four new works to be read at the festival.  Our hope is to continue our relationship with our writers long after this festival is through

The backdrop of today’s hate-filled rhetoric and Birmingham’s fractured past, RMTC is working to spark world-changing conversations – one individual at a time. For through great art, we explore issues and emotions too difficult for mere words. And, this exploration opens us to consider the life of another – our fellow man.


How the festival will explore human rights.


After a week of preparation, actors read aloud from scripts, incorporating minimal stage movement without costumes or sets. These presentations are followed by a community conversation with the writer(s), director, and cast.


Performances featuring full production of set, costuming, props, and staging. These often feature a public presence, such as critical reviews, advertisements, or publicity releases.


Prior to each staged reading, the writer(s) will share a bit about themselves, their inspiration for the work, and their plans for its future development.


After performances, the audience joins in an informal discussion with the cast, creative team, designers, and/or directors of the production. This gives audience members a chance to ask questions, offer feedback, and learn more about the show.


A selected group of panelists, who share differing perspectives, join in a live or virtual discussion about a specific topic. These are usually conducted in a moderated format, featuring a question-answer session with the audience at the conclusion.


Young artists from The Actors’ Academy showcase excerpts of new work they’ve written around human rights topics. Their material is interspersed with songs from the Festival’s Associate Artistic Director.


Celebration, Commemoration,
and Conversation.

2013 Production of “The MLK Project” by Priscilla Hancock Cooper and Cheryl L. Davis

Festival Timeline

March 12-14, 2020

We are excited to share with you the readings and events for the 2020 Human Rights New Works Festival.

The Pink Unicorn

Thursday, March 12, 7:30PM
The Pink Unicorn (New Work Reading)

By Elise Forier Edie

Trisha Lee's life and faith as a Christian widow in a conservative Texas town is suddenly thrown into turmoil when her teenaged daughter announces she is "gender queer" and starting a chapter of the Gay and Straight Alliance chapter at the local high school.

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Arc Stories

Friday, March 13, 7:30PM
Arc Stories More Alike Than Different: True Human Stories

The festival has partnered with Arc stories a Birmingham, Alabama-based storytelling organization dedicated to helping people tell their own personal stories as well as they can.  Tonight you'll hear stories on the theme of Human Rights. Arc Stories 

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a hit dog will holler

Saturday, March 14, 2PM
a hit dog will holler (New Work Reading)

By Inda Craig-Galván

When racism and oppression manifest in a scary, physical form, a social media influencer and a boots-on-the-ground activist form a complex bond of friendship to help each other survive. The play explores the effects of a never-ending barrage of trauma on the women who are continually looked at to lead a movement of resistance and change. What happens when there's no more outside space for the growing monster that is American racism?

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ABLE: a community conversation

Saturday, March 14, 7:30PM


ABLE: a community conversation

Our evening will begin with a fifteen-minute episode of ABLE: a series, co-produced by Alie B. Gorrie.  ABLE will open the door for artists and audience members alike to share common understanding about disability and disability etiquette.  Following the episode, a panel of local leaders in the disability community will discuss the power of inclusion, the importance of representation, and the disability resources Birmingham has to offer.  ABLE: a series

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On The Stage With Josh

Saturday, March 14, 7:30PM

Act 2

On Stage With Josh

This unique evening showcases the incredible talent, stories, and spirit of performing artists with disabilities. Joshua M Castille, a Spring Awakening Broadway vet at the age of 24, is a deaf actor who has played title roles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame(Quasimodo) at The 5th Avenue Theater, and Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) at ACT. Josh has taken the world by storm with his cabaret “On Stage With Josh”, in which he signs musical theater songs in ASL (American Sign Language), creating a gender-breaking, entertaining new way to experience music, lyrics, and storytelling.    Joshua M. Castille

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Inspire, engage, and transform audiences.

2010 Production of “Barnstormer” by Cheryl L. Davis & Doug Cohen

Our Leadership

Keith Cromwell

Keith Cromwell

Executive Director

Red Mountain Theatre Company Executive Director Keith Cromwell has a 25-year directing and performing career that includes numerous awards and involvement with the Actors’ Equity Association, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, American Guild of Variety Artists, and Screen Actors Guild.

A military brat, Keith was born in North Africa, graduated from James Madison University, and spent 25-years as a performer and director, on and off Broadway and around the world. He arrived in Birmingham more than a dozen years ago as a guest artist to direct a show for what was then known as Summerfest. He planned to stay a few months and head back to New York. But, six months later, he had fallen in love with the city, bought a house, and accepted the position of Executive Director. Since that time, under Keith’s leadership, the organization, whose name later changed to Red Mountain Theatre Company, grew its budget from half a million to more than 3 million, increased the full time staff  to 18, and literally put Birmingham on the artistic map. He is a longstanding member of Actors’ Equity Association, The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, The American Guild of Variety Artists, and The Screen Actors Guild. Keith serves on the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and within that organization sits on the New Works Selection Committee and is actively engaged in the National Fund for New Musicals.  In 2016, Keith was awarded membership in the Broadway League. He has participated on granting review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His industry connections and diligence in growing relationships with Broadway and national artists has not only opened doors of connection for Red Mountain Theatre students – who have gone on to successful careers in Broadway, film, and TV – but provided positive recognition for Birmingham across the nation and created incredible artistic experiences for our city. In 2014, Keith led the organization into position as a lead producer on Broadway’s The Bridges of Madison County.

Keith is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, served on The Cultural Arts Committee for Birmingham City Schools, Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham Steering Committee, Youth Leadership Forum, and the Arts Committee of Birmingham-Southern College’s Norton Board. Keith was the recipient of the National Conference for Community and Justice’s 2017 Brotherhood Award. Keith was named a Birmingham Business Journal’s CEO Awards finalist and voted one of “365 People You Should Know in Birmingham” (Birmingham Magazine).  Keith is dedicated to the renaissance of this great city and continuing to forge a place for the arts and cultural sector to be recognized as a valuable asset leading the city of Birmingham into its dynamic future.

Matt Schicker

Matt Schicker


With more than two decades of experience in the theatre industry, Matt advances musicals and plays through strategic creative and business developmental steps as a self-title “Show Shepherd.”

Matt advances musicals and plays through strategic creative and business developmental steps. Selected current and past projects include: Havana Music Hall (Actors’ Playhouse Miami 2018); Mr. Holland’s Opus (Ogunquit Playhouse readings 2017, 2018 & 2019); LMNOP – A New Muzical (TUTS Underground 2015, Goodspeed Musicals 2013, NYC Developmental Lab 2012; dir. Joe Calarco); Frida (Ogunquit Playhouse reading); Adam Gwon and Michele Lowe’s The Proxy Marriage, Bhangin’ It!, Into the Wild and Joe Iconis’ Broadway Bounty Hunter (Rhinebeck Writers Retreat developmental readings); Tonight’s Star (an audience-interactive concert with cutting-edge mobile technology); Mother Jones In Heaven & Hell (Off-Broadway reading at The York Theatre Company); Harriet (NYMF 2014 with an all-star cast featuring Lillias White); In a Heartbeat (featuring Tony winner Lena Hall); Pooch (dir. Gabriel Barre); and Trav’lin (upcoming Arvada Center 2019, Seven Angels Theatre 2018), among others. He was co-producer of the original musical Yank!, which had a hit run Off-Broadway in 2010 at The York Theatre Company (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), and received workshops co-produced with the Roundabout Theatre Company and The Old Globe Theatre/NAMCO in 2011 (dir. David Cromer). He was Executive Producer of the Yank! Original Off-Broadway Cast Album on PS Classics. Matt currently is New Works Director for Ogunquit Playhouse (Maine). As Producer for East of Doheny Productions, Matt previously collaborated with Goodspeed Musicals on the August 2010 production of the new musical Radio Girl (dir. Christopher Gattelli). Formerly Producing Artistic Director of Playhouse on the Green (CT); Membership Director of National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) 2005-2008; Marketing/Press Director for The Pearl Theatre Company Off-Broadway 2004-2005; Producer for The Gallery Players Theatre (Brooklyn) 2003-2008; Communications Officer at The Juilliard School 1999-2004. Board of Directors: New York Theatre Barn and the HAIR Tribes Foundation. Member, National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT). Instagram: @showshepherd

Matt Schicker

Joshua M. Castille

FESTIVAL Artistic Adviser

Joshua Castille, a “Spring Awakening” Broadway vet at the age of 24, is back in Los Angeles to entertain the crowd with Broadway songs in American Sign Language on a Friday night at The Colony Theatre. He’s done a lot of things since he took on the stage of Broadway in 2015.

He’s played two massive title roles: Quasimodo in the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle, and in “Romeo & Juliet” as Romeo. And he’s Deaf.

Josh has taken the world on by storm through signing songs in ASL and starting up a new production company (Hypernovas Productions) with his creative partner, Jules Dameron. And she’s directing Josh’s show this night.

Red Mountain Theatre Company

We’re committed to building new works of theatre.

For 14 years under Keith Cromwell’s direction, RMTC has focused its efforts on giving a platform to such powerful, essential stories as those of Nelson Mandela and Fannie Lou Hamer. We are redoubling our efforts in our mission of human rights advocacy through the ancient art of theatre.


Contact Us

Matt Schicker

Matt Schicker


Email Matt

Our Sponsors

Steve Callaway & Keith Pennington

Alabama State Council on the Arts

Renasant Bank

Gifts in Memory of Theresa Cromwell Ring

Mercedes Benz US International, Show Sponsor

Louise & John Beard,  Artistic Advisor Sponsor

For more information on how you can be part of the festival, please contact:
Contact Jennifer Jaquess at