Caryl Churchill's dynamic comedy Cloud 9 opens Oct. 29 at The Western Stage in Salinas

Publish Date: 
Oct 27, 2016
Remarkable play explores gender and society in Victorian era and 1970s London

SALINAS, Calif. – The first act is set in 1879 Africa, and the second is in 1979, London. Yet somehow, only 25 years have passed for the characters. This is Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, a contrapuntal structured play that not only challenges the imagination, but brings gender identity, social roles, and society's rules to the table in a comedic way that only this playwright can accomplish.

Starting Oct. 29, The Western Stage continues its 42nd repertory season with Cloud 9 in the intimate Studio Theater at Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. Performances run through Nov. 19; details are at

Watch the plot unfold as an English patriarch living with his family in Africa in 1879 attempts to implement societal morals onto his wife, children, visitors and even the natives—while he is having an affair with a neighbor. In the second act, 100 years have passed in London. but family members are only 25 years older.  The date is now 1979, and the societal rules are being pushed even harder.

Cloud 9, which premiered in the United Kingdom in 1979, has received wide acclaim both in Churchill's native Britain and beyond.

In a review of a 2015 production, New York Times writer Ben Brantley wrote:

"Ms. Churchill, one of the wisest and bravest playwrights on the planet, understands that sex is endlessly fluid, no matter the time, place or culture in which it is practiced. More than three decades ago—when “trans” as a prefix most commonly meant something to do with automobiles—she dared set up camp in that hazy frontier land where the boundaries of gender and the rules of attraction blur and dissolve. That’s the terrain in which Cloud 9, a portrait of an archetypal British family in flux, takes place."

Charles McNutley from the Los Angeles Times called Cloud 9 "a sex farce with gender politics on its mind," declaring it "a feminist classic that still bowls theatergoers over with its breathtaking theatrical daring."

Please be advised that no children’s tickets will be sold to The Western Stage's production of Cloud 9, due to explicit content.

Jon Patrick Selover and Lorenzo Aragon co-direct this very sophisticated piece of theatre. The Western Stage’s production is designed by Jordan Janota (scenic), Allison Dillard (costumes), John Englehorn (lighting) and Taylor Wilson (sound).


WHAT: The Western Stage presents Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill

WHEN: Oct. 29-Nov. 20, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.

WHERE: The Studio Theater at The Western Stage, Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave., Salinas.

TICKETS AND INFO: Admission is $26 general admission and $24 for seniors (no children's tickets will be sold for this production). Hartnell students are free with student I.D.  For tickets and more details, go to or call 831-755-6816.

PRESS: For press tickets, contact Kathy Cusson at or 831-759-6012. Download high-res publicity photos at

ABOUT THE WESTERN STAGE: Founded in 1974, The Western Stage (TWS) has evolved over the last four decades into one of the most respected community-based theaters on California’s Central Coast. TWS is committed to enriching the culture of its community by bringing together professional artists, theatre students, and community members to produce a dynamic season of plays that enhances the lives of both the artist and audience; developing new works that speak to the history and culture of the Salinas Valley; and providing educational opportunities that allow students of all skill levels to explore and develop their unique talents.


serves over 16,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides workforce training, basic skills courses, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world class STEM education, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science degree in three years. We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit