Sally Mann on stage: Some Things Are Private in Providence

Sally Mann, Jessie #30, 2004, gelatin silver print with varnish, 50 x 40 inches (127 x 101.6cm), edition of 5.

The Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, presents Some Things Are Private. This world premiere begins performances on Friday, February 15 and runs through March 23 in the Dowling Theater. At the heart of this play, tackling the hot-button topic of censorship and art, is Season 1 artist Sally Mann. In the 1990’s, Mann’s collection Immediate Family gained notoriety for including nude photographs of her own children. Blending fiction with public record, Some Things Are Private takes a provocative look at who determines “what is art?”

Over a year in the making and stretching the form of docudrama, Some Things Are Private focuses on Sally Mann’s own words and those of her critics and supporters, all drawn from public-record interviews and letters. In addition to researching public documents, the team worked with actors in a workshop setting, and recorded reactions to Mann’s photographs. Playwright Deborah Salem Smith explains, “half the room thought her photographs were beautiful, and exactly the same number said they shouldn‚Äôt even be up on the wall at all. We were intrigued that a single image could be so polarizing.”

The first performance on February 15 at 8pm is pay-what-you-can. Regular ticket prices are $20-60. Regular performances start at 7pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and at 8:00 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with selected Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. After every performance, audiences are invited to share their response to the play’s production and themes for approximately twenty minutes. Tickets are on sale now at the Trinity Rep box office, 201 Washington Street; by phone at (401) 351-4242; and online at

Elsewhere, Sally Mann currently has a solo exhibition on view at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA through February 14. Read more about the show here.