Light the Fire Inside at Know Theatre’s Rolling World Premiere of THE ARSONISTS

KTC_The Arsonists promo


by Jacqueline Goldfinger

directed by Tamara Winters
September 22 – October 14, 2017

When arson’s your job, things get lost in the fire…

Know Theatre’s landmark 20th Anniversary Season continues this September with a beautiful father/daughter story of heartbreak and redemption.

M & H are a father/daughter arson team – the very best at what they do. But after a job goes bad, M must wrestle between her desire to keep her family whole and her duty to put her father’s spirit at rest. Will she lose the last connection she has to her past? Or will she lose herself in the process?

Set deep in the swamps of Florida, this Southern Gothic fable explores the relationship between parent and child in that small space between death and life, the last breath before the awakening.

Featuring haunting melodies from the folk and Americana tradition, this play with music is loosely inspired by the Greek tragic myth of Electra, and its power and poetry will leave you breathless.

The Arsonists is the second stop on a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. To create a Rolling World Premiere, a minimum of three theatres around the country commit to distinct productions of a new play within 12 months.

The Arsonists debuted earlier in 2017 at Azuka Playhouse in Philadelphia, and now Know Theatre takes the reigns with an all-new production, to be followed by productions in Anchorage, Alaska and Sacramento, California in 2018.

Of the Rolling World Premiere Program, Producing Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford says,

The RWP is one of the best ways to ensure that new plays get multiple productions early in their lives. We’ve previously been a part of two Rolling World Premieres at the Know, Pluto in 2014 and Pulp in 2017. It’s so exciting to join companies across the country in the creation of new work, and I’m thrilled that this beautiful new play is our third foray into this kind of national theatrical conversation.

Critics hailed the Azuka production as “haunting, atmospheric,” and “compelling,” and Know’s Associate Artistic Director Tamara Winters is thrilled to put Cincinnati’s mark on this gorgeous new script.

Joining her to bring this vision to life are two actors new to the Know MainStage, but not to stages around the region! Fans of Know’s in-house improv comedy team OTRimprov will recognize proud Northern Kentucky University Theatre alum Erin Ward from their ranks!

Erin spent the 2015-2016 season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as an Acting Intern, and has been seen on the Know’s Underground stage and in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival for several years. Now, she makes her MainStage debut with this powerful and unexpected mythic drama.

Veteran regional actor Jim Stark joins us from Madison, Indiana, where he serves in the theatre faculty of Hanover College. Jim is new to Cincinnati stages, but has been seen previously at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Riverrun Theatre, South Carolina Rep, and Indiana Repertory Theatre. 

Why is director Tamara Winters so excited to bring this Rolling World Premiere to the stage in Cincinnati?

The Arsonists is about how hard it can be to let go of what we cling to for survival, when it’s no longer helping us survive. In this moment, where we as a nation hold so hard to the ideas and beliefs we think make us who we are, it’s a perfect moment to remember that sometimes, the freedom is in the letting go. 

Jacqueline Goldfinger has crafted a cathartic tale of the intensity of love and the power of connection – threaded together with unforgettable classic American melodies – that is a powerful reminder of our duty to each other and our own hearts in troubled times.

Come discover a haunting tale of loss and redemption, told through poetry and song, in the Rolling World Premiere of The Arsonists at Know Theatre. 

The Arsonists runs September 22 – October 14, only on the Know MainStage.

Cast in Alphabetical Order

  • Jim Stark* as H
  • Erin Ward as M

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.

Production Team

  • Director – Tamara Winters
  • Lighting & Scenic Designer – Andrew Hungerford
  • Scenic Charge & Prop Designer – Sarah Beth Hall
  • Costume Designer – Noelle Wedig
  • Sound Designer – Doug Borntrager

Calendar Listing

Production:   The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger

When: 8:00pm September 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30; October 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14
3:00pm  September 24; October 1*, and October 8

*A pre-show brunch is available on this date with purchase of $35 “Brunch + Show” tickets in advance. Deadline for brunch reservation is January 30. Brunch provided by Water Tower Fine Wines

Where: Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. In historic Over-the-Rhine.


  • $25 regular Price
  • $15 Rush tickets at the door 10 minutes prior to curtain (when available)
  • FREE walk-up tickets are available on Wednesdays, as part of Know’s Welcome
    initiative. Advance reservations to Welcome Experiment performances are $5.00.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling 513.300.5669 (KNOW).

Know Theatre is Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible.

Know Theatre’s work is made possible, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Know Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. 

Know Theatre is also supported by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, helping to change our communities for the better through collaboration and innovation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provides a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving. 

 Know Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group and an Associate member of the National New Play Network. 

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