The 51st State

 Arena Stage’s third film in four months, The 51st State premiered on September 16 and was inspired by the protests and and the drive for the creation of a movement after the murder of George Floyd and the quest for the creation of the 51st state and sovereignty in Washington, D.C.


Molly Smith


Nick "the 1da" Hernandez

DJ and Sound Designer

Paige Hernandez

Monologue Director

Anita Maynard-Losh

Director of Community Engagement/Senior Artistic Advisor

Psalmayene 24

Arena’s Master Teaching Artist

Seema Sueko

Deputy Artistic Director


Dane Figueroa Edidi


Farah Lawal Harris

Caleen Sinnette Jennings

Teshonne Nicole Powell

Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zöe

Gregory Keng Strasser

Deb Sivigny

Mary Hall Surface

Aria Velz

Karen Zacarías


Sherri L. Edelen

Michael Glenn

James J. Johnson

Joy Jones

Jason B. McIntosh

Gary L. Perkins III

Todd Scofield

Thomas Adrian Simpson

Dani Stoller

Justin Weaks

Jacob Yeh

In Their Own Words

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton shares her thoughts on The 51st State
Molly Smith shares her thoughts on The 51st State
Psalmayene 24 shares his thoughts on The 51st State
Paige Hernandez shares her thoughts on The 51st State

The 51st State is generously sponsored by The Artistic Director Fund, the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, Joanne Barker, Jane Lang and The Barbara R. Walton Endowment Fund for New Playwrights.

Arena Stage extends special thanks to Suzanne Blue Star Boy, Chalkline Productions, LLC, Southwest Business Improvement District, SAG-AFTRAand Zanni Productions. 

The 51st State is a project of Arena Stage’s Fall/Winter 2020 season Looking Forward (Artistic Director Molly Smith, Executive Producer Edgar Dobie).

In the News

WHUR 96.3 FM

The 51st State takes a look at the social justice movement

Radio Sputnik

Seema Sueko discusses the process of making 'The 51st State' and the future of theater.

DC Theatre Scene

D.C. citizens speak through Arena Stage’s new film 'The 51st State'

Broadway World

BWW Video: Watch Arena Stage's Latest World Premiere Film 'The 51st State'

Washington Informer

Arena Stage Releases Third World-Premiere Film, ‘The 51st State’

Woman Around Town

Playwright Aria Velz Talks About Arena Stage’s Film 'The 51st State'


Arena Stage Releases 'The 51st State', A Movie About D.C. Statehood

Woman Around Town

'The 51st State' – BLM and the Movement for D.C. Representation

DC Metro Theater Arts

Arena Stage docudrama makes case for making D.C. ‘The 51st State’

WJLA - Good Morning Washington

New film highlights Black Lives Matter movement and D.C.'s fight for statehood

The Washington Post

To understand what’s going on in the streets of D.C., theaters are having stage artists make movies.


Arena Stage tackles D.C. statehood, racism in livestream ’The 51st State’


Molly Smith speaks about the premiere of The 51st State