ArtsWest’s Upcoming Seattle Premiere Swimming While Drowning by Emilio Rodriguez

SEATTLE, WA (August 31st, 2022) – Marking the beginning of their 2022-23 Season, titled BEGIN IT, West Seattle’s own ArtsWest is excited to be producing the Seattle Premiere of Emilio Rodriguez’s SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING, running September 29th through October 23rd.

SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING is a story of love, poetry, and new beginnings. When teenager Angelo Mendez decides to leave his home out of fear of further disappointing his homophobic father, he encounters a world he was not prepared for at an LGBT homeless shelter in Los Angeles. There he meets a fellow homeless teen who gives him a voice and unexpectedly introduces him to love. Angelo ultimately learns that all relationships, no matter how powerful, have an unfortunate time cap which he must cope with through his writing. SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING is a story that is simultaneously gritty, sweet, funny, heartbreaking and real.

Directed by Roy Arauz, a Costa Rican-American director, choreographer, and producer who has worked in the Seattle area at Book-It Repertory, Latino Theatre Projects, and previously at ArtsWest, among others. After working on SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING’s World Premiere at Milagro in Portland, Arauz is thrilled to bring the play to Seattle audiences. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful script. I saw almost every performance of it and sat in the audience mesmerized every time. Nowadays, we have quite a few queer coming of age stories, but they are often about kids that are sort of affluent and of privilege. In this case, we’re seeing kids who aren’t, and who are not always seen. It’s a coming of age story for all of us about feeling like you’re not going to make it and finding a way to come out of that and keep on going.”

“We’re so honored to have Roy back at ArtsWest for the first time since his incredible work on 2015’s My Mañana Comes,” says Artistic Director Mathew Wright. “He comes with such a strong sense of the beauty, humor, strength, and resilience in Emilio’s play. The play is beautifully cast with Brodrick and Gabriel as Mila and Angelo, and the design team has created a fiercely poetic world for the story to live in. I can’t think of a more exciting way to open the 2022-23 season.”


Brodrick Ryans – Mila

Gabriel FitzPatrick – Angelo

Creative Team

Roy Arauz – Director

Ronquesha Ingram – Stage Manager

Burton Yuen – Scenic Designer

Sam Reid-McKee – Lighting Designer

Sandra Huezo-Menjivar – Sound Designer

Fawn Bartlett – Costume Designer

Antonieta Carpio Castillo – Props Designer

About the Production

SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING plays September 29th – October 23rd, 2022 at ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, Seattle WA 98116. Tickets ($15-$120) available online at, by phone at 206-938-0339, or at the box office Thursday – Saturday 4 – 7pm.

About ArtsWest

ArtsWest is a vibrant center for both theater and visual arts located in the West Seattle Junction. This 149-seat theatre provides a unique setting for audiences and artists as stories of human emotion unfold in an intimate space. Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s 2012 National Theatre Company Award, and winner of multiple Gregory Awards, ArtsWest has produced work by such varied playwrights as Dominique Morisseau, Henrik Ibsen, Annie Baker, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Taylor Mac, and David Henry Huang. ArtsWest produces artistic events that provoke conversation, incite the imagination, and use live theater as a powerful agent of change.


General Admission: $44 | Inclusion: $15 | Friendship: $80 | Champion: $120

Tickets online at by phone at 206-938-0339, and at the box office, 4711 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 , Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. | Sundays at 3:00 p.m.