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Seton Hill University’s Theatre and Dance Program presents the world premiere of “Running in Traffic,” a play by Denise Pullen, associate professor, theatre and dance, at the University.

“Running in Traffic” focuses on Bolton, a nonverbal young man with autism who runs from home to attempt independence and becomes lost. He finds refuge on a traffic island when Stevie, a girl in a sandwich suit, pulls him from speeding traffic. While his family tackles traffic to find him, Bolton fights to continue his destination and Officer Edwards speeds to the scene of an alleged assault on a sandwich.

“The story unfolds with humor and compassion. While the real-time action of his rescue and arrest plays out, scenes dramatizing the struggles Bolton and his family face throughout his life expose the toll autism takes on the families it affects. My goal with this new play is to attempt an understanding of the mysteries of the autistic mind and give voice to the needs and desires held hostage within it,” said Pullen, who has a personal perspective on the topic of autism. “My 23-year-old nephew is autistic. I wrote this play as a tribute to this family’s struggle and the strength of their love.”

Pullen, an awarded playwright and screenwriter, began the development of “Running in Traffic” with the Pittsburgh PlayWorks, which is a play development lab nurturing the work of diverse playwrights. She expanded the play and is working with Kellee Van Aken as director and her Seton Hill theatre students to stage a full length debut. Pullen notes she is enjoying the collaborative process and hopes it will be the first of many at Seton Hill.

Pullen, who has been a member of the Seton Hill theatre faculty since 2002, earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University, where she teaches playwriting in the pre-college program. She received the 2000 Sloan Foundation Award and 2001 John R. Pasquin Award. In 2002 and 2006, Pullen was selected as a recipient of the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts fellowships.

Performances: April 27 and 28: 8 p.m.; April 29: 2 p.m.; May 2: 10:30 a.m.; May 3, 4 and 5: 8 p.m.

Venue Information: All Seton Hill Theatre and Dance performances are held in the William Granger Ryan Theatre in Seton Hill University's Performing Arts Center, 100 Harrison Avenue, Greensburg, Pa. The Performing Arts Center is a fully accessible and climate-controlled facility. Parking is available in four nearby Greensburg parking areas: the Bell Parking Garage on North Otterman Street (across the street from the Performing Arts Center), the Hellman-Ghrist lot on North Main Street, the Albert Grillo lot on Seton Hill Drive, and the Wib Albright lot off West Otterman Street.

Ticket Information: Single admission tickets are $16. Seton Hill students (with valid ID) can purchase tickets for $5. Non-Seton Hill students (with a valid school ID) can purchase advance tickets for $13. Students from any school can purchase rush tickets five minutes before curtain, subject to availability, for $5 (with valid school ID). Groups of 16 or more can purchase tickets at a rate of $12 each with a reservation and advance payment. Order tickets online, by phone at 724-552-2929, or by mail at SHUPAC Theatre Box Office, Seton Hill University, 1 Seton Hill Drive, Greensburg, Pa. 15601-1599. Box Office Hours, by telephone: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Extended hours on performance days: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday.

Seton Hill University's Performing Arts Center is 73,000 square feet of everything a performing arts major needs to move from student to professional. The Center houses two dedicated, flexible performance spaces, the Carol Ann Reichgut Concert Hall and the William Granger Ryan Theatre. The Center also includes a performance studio, new classrooms, rehearsal rooms and technical areas that include the best equipment for learning and performing, from Steinway pianos to the latest in lighting, sound, video and acoustics. The Center is located in downtown Greensburg, putting it squarely in the middle of the city’s cultural district yet still only minutes from Seton Hill’s main hilltop campus.

The Seton Hill University Theatre and Dance Program has a long history of educating performing arts majors for professional careers while playing a vital role in the educational life of the campus. Seton Hill’s Theatre and Dance Program offers four full-length productions (as well as a number of shorter works) and one dance production each year that generate audiences of over 3,500 and speak to topics addressed in courses across Seton Hill’s curriculum.