Witches on your screen

The University of Utah Department of Theatre is proud to present "The Night Witches," written by Salt Lake playwright Rachel Bublitz and directed by Alexandra Harbold, as the department’s first fully live-streamed “virtual theatre” production, running Oct. 23-Nov. 1, 2020.

Nina and Vera have just finished their training as navigators and are moments away from their first combat mission as “Night Witches”—the infamous, all-female bomber regiment of the Soviet Air Force. As they fight their nerves, the women around them remind them what they are fighting for: honor, family, survival, country. But this night is different, and when the time comes, they must fly—ready or not. "The Night Witches" follows them through one fateful evening, as they venture into the sky and beyond.

The fearsome flyers of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew over 23,000 missions without radios or parachutes, in planes made of canvas and wood. Hidden by darkness, they dropped bomb after bomb on their German enemy every 15 minutes to keep them from sleeping. Underestimated, scorned and undersupplied, the “Night Witches” trained one another as they flew between ranks and duties—mechanics became navigators, navigators became pilots, pilots became commanders. Eventually, all became legends: By the end of the war, they were the most decorated unit in the Soviet Air Force.

"The Night Witches" is a one-of-a-kind theatre event. Performed live each night and streamed online, this is the first fully virtual production from the University of Utah's Department of Theatre. "The Night Witches" is a standout in another way: the entire cast—and (nearly) the entire creative team—is female. “As a director, to be able to cast so many women together is one of the great gifts of 'The Night Witches,'” said Harbold. “So often I think theatre is born out of conflict, but a lot of times it’s an outside force that’s generating it. And what I really love about 'The Night Witches' is that they are trying to deal internally with how to be brave and afraid at the same time. It feels like not just one person’s ‘Hero’s Journey,’ but everyone’s ‘Hero’s Journey.'”

“It just seems like an impossible thing, but that’s what theatre is: an impossible thing,” said Bublitz when asked about the challenges of creating theatre online. “We’re all gonna go into a room and pretend together, and if we don’t all pretend together, it’s not gonna work…I love art that comes out of times where things aren’t easy because everyone has to push themselves. Everybody has to work as hard as they can in order to take off.”

Live streams begin at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on select weekend days. Tickets range from $2 (student) to $5 (general admission) to $15 (champion). Free admission for current University of Utah students, and half-price admission available to anyone willing to take the “Good Witch” pledge—for more information, visit the show’s information page.

The Night Witches

Oct. 23, 24, 29, 30 and Nov. 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
Matinees Oct. 25, 31 and Nov. 1 @ 2 p.m.

Online live stream

Captioning available at all performances

Disclaimer: Simulated violence and images of conflict/war. Some lighting effects may be uncomfortable for photosensitive viewers.

Ticket information: 801-581-7100 or https://artstickets.utah.edu/events/the-night-witches/