PTSD Meets the World of Virtual Reality in Urbanite Theatre’s World Premiere

Located in the heart of downtown is an intimate venue that’s easy to miss, but once inside, the “black-box” Urbanite Theatre will keep you coming back for more.

Urbanite Theatre, led by Brendan Ragan, the theater’s co-artistic director, fills a niche in Sarasota offering edgy, daring, funky and bold scripts written by artists who are on the verge of fame.

March 24 heralds Urbanite’s third production of the 2023  season, the world premiere of Backward Forwards Back by Jacqueline Goldfinger, also directed by Brendan Ragan. The one-actor play (tells the story of  a soldier returning from war plagued with ghosts from his past and a severe case of PTSD. “Backwards Forwards Back is a riveting examination of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, but
more importantly, it is also an insightful meditation on healing.” says Ragan. “It’s rare
that a story ever looks so deeply inside the minds of our wounded soldiers, focusing less on the outward
symptoms but the inner turmoil.”

L. James as “The Soldier”

The drama stars Army veteran L. James, who previously appeared in Urbanite’s smash hit Sender. Confronting his PTSD,  head on (literally, using a Virtual Reality therapy/headset) he is  faced with a sobering decision: address his alarming PTSD with Virtual Reality therapy, or risk losing access to his family forever. Can this new technology recalibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers?

Urbanite Theatre proves to be a gem of an artistic theatre, with its small, black box format. And they want to stay that way.  “We don’t want to grow so big that we have to find new, bigger home. It would change both the product and what we produce. Small makes us special. We have to appeal to a smaller slice of the overall pie, and keep our theater at 75 seats vs. 500 or more like other venues,” Ragan said.


When? March 24th – April 23rd, 2023,

Run time: 60 minutes, no intermission

Performance Schedule
Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm (until 4/8) & 8:00pm
Sundays at 2:00pm

$39 regular 
$25 under 40 
$5 student 
Tickets and Subscriptions are available online at any time at, or by calling 941-321-1397.

Season 3 Round Up

2023 Modern Works Festival
Presented by Summer Wallace

​May 3 – May 7, 2023

​Back for the fourth time and returning to an in-person experience, the Modern Works Festival is a playwriting contest, reading festival and celebration of women in theatre.

A World Premiere! That Must Be the Entrance to Heaven
by Franky D. Gonzalez, Directed by Kathleen Capdesuñer

June 9 – July 9, 2023

​Glory. Survival. Legacy. Citizenship. Four Latino boxers all chase a world title to achieve their personal versions of heaven. But to get there, they must battle each other, their own battered bodies, and the universe itself. All four men walk the line between life and death in this poignant, poetic collision of combat and cosmos.







Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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