written by Paul Kruse
directed by Adil Mansoor
produced by Nicole Sher

presented August 11–14, 2016
as part of a residency at the New Hazlett Theater

A young family sprouts from the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania. A Catholic priest from Eastern Minnesota embeds himself in a new community. Guided by the science and wisdom of two saints, Driftless unearths the full cost of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, and asks us to consider lives, relationships, and heritage as we seek answers for the future of our world. Why must families choose between their health and a viable economic future? Based on interviews with community members, Driftless brings an ongoing debate into the heart of our family kitchens.


Funding for Driftless was provided by the A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, Opportunity Fund, the Puffin Foundation Ltd, the Small Arts Initiative of the Heinz Endowments, Three Rivers Community Foundation, and the William V. and Catherine A. McKinney Charitable Trusts through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee.

This performance is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


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


lighting designer KATHRYN A. DEVLIN
costume designer REBECCA HARRISON
master carpenter LAUREN SHAPIRO
community coordinators LOIS BOWER-BJORNSON and EVA WESTHEIMER
graphic designer BETH GLICK


Driftless has been three-phase project. Driftless Phase 1 took the form of a 30-minute performance piece navigating an encounter between the non-profit world of environmental activism and the reality of hydraulic fracturing. Mixing real accounts of this issue with US tax code, a Roman Catholic Mass, and corporate literature. It was presented by The Drift on October 19th, 2013, on the Allegheny River. Driftless Phase 2, supported by the Heinz Endowments’ Small Arts Initiative, gathered nine artists from various disciplines to create a second, short performance piece. This group spent two weeks responding to transcripts from a recent trial involving a protest at a frac sand facility in Winona, MN. The culminating 30-minute performance was presented on May 23rd, 2014, at PearlArts Studios. It incorporated gestural and surreal imaginings of the trial amidst the artists’ personal experiences with fracking and water. Driftless Phase 2 also created space for the audience to share their own stories and begin connecting with one another through their own understanding of this important conversation.

The final phase of Driftless will combine aspects of the first two phases as well as research about fracking and its impacts in Western Pennsylvania.

Driftless Phase 1

Hatch supports environmental justice.

We at Hatch Arts Collective recognize the complexity surrounding issues of natural gas extraction in Western Pennsylvania. The practice of hydraulic fracturing is not only connected with a history of environmental degradation and economic injustice, but also directly benefits many working-class people, both here and across our country. As with any industry, the natural gas industry supports a large number of people by offering employment and infrastructure.

Holding this to be true, and maintaining the dignity and value of all workers, we also recognize that the practice of hydraulic fracturing causes harm. In this way it is similar to coal mining and other methods of fossil fuel extraction and use.

We believe that we can and should live in a world where people do not have to choose between economic security and a healthy environment. We believe that it is possible to create a world where the cost of living well does not amount to sacrificing our land, our bodies, and the well-being of future generations.

It is because of this belief that we stand with those individuals and organizations in our area who are fighting for environmental justice. These include, but are not limited to:

Driftless Phase 2