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Voices of a People’s History of the United States

 

September 27, 2012  

 
Plays and PlayersSouth Camden Theatre Company and Iron Age Theatre are collaborating to bring this powerful work to the Philadelphia regional stage. Voices of a People’s History of the United States brings to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who built the movements that made the United States what it is today, ending slavery and Jim Crow, protesting war and genocide, advancing gay and women’s rights, and struggling to right wrongs of the day.


Three performances only! Each company will present the work once in their home locale with a repertory cast and special guests, co-directed by Iron Age Theatre’s Artistic Director John Doyle and Plays & Players’ Artistic Director Daniel Student. Iron Age Theatre will open the run on October 21 at 7pm at The Centre Theater in Norristown, South Camden Theatre Company will present the second production on October 27 at 2pm at the Waterfront South Theatre in Camden, New Jersey and the event will conclude with a production and meet and greet at historic Plays & Players Theatre in Philadelphia on November 10 at 8pm.

These performances bring to life the words of the famous and the forgotten from U.S. history through live readings by actors of speeches, letters, essays, poems, and more. Figures like Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Kevin Tillman, Emma Goldman and Fred Hampton are revived in the production. Since 2003, there have been more than 80 VOICES performances in 18 different states and in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2007 by a group of activists, artists and educators, led by historian Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, who together edited the book Voices of a People's History of the United States, the primary source companion to Zinn’s best-selling A People’s History of the United States., VOICES is a nonprofit social justice organization using performing arts and educational programs based on primary source materials. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past—and present—VOICES seeks to educate and inspire a new generation working for social justice.  Past performers include Academy Award winners and community organizers, teachers and students, veterans and musicians. Venues range from classrooms and town halls to the Sundance Film Festival and the Kennedy Center.

“VOICES really captures the voices as if they were speaking right to us over the years and all the differences. It calls on us to add our own voices and, quite apart from its value as a learning tool that may be its greatest contribution.” stated Paul Buhle of Brown University and Z Magazine
Tickets for all performances are $25-$30. Tickets for October 21 hosted by Iron Age Theatre can be purchased at www.ironagetheatre.org. Tickets for October 27 can be purchased at www.southcamdentheatre.org or by calling 866-811-4111. Tickets for November 10 can be purchased at www.playsandplayers.org or by calling 800-595-4TIX.

”The work of Howard Zinn allows us to both illuminate our stage with his work and, at the same time, honor our mission in Camden,” says South Camden Theatre Company's Producing Artistic Director Joseph M. Paprzycki. “Working together with two like-minded, talented companies like Iron Age Theatre and Plays & Players allows our combined vision to be played out to a larger audience. We are particularly honored to have Msgr. Michael Doyle pastor of Sacred Heart Church read an excerpt from his own testimony as given during the infamous ‘Camden 28’trial; one in which Howard Zinn himself testified.”

"Plays & Players has been a gathering place for theater practitioners to practice their craft for over 100 years,” says P & P Producing Artistic Director Daniel Student. This is home to a true American history. The theater has long been a place where those who are oppressed find a voice to speak out, and I knew that I had found kindred spirits when I first met with the leaders of Iron Age and South Camden Theatre Company  about this project. We all couldn't think of a better place to host the culminating performance of the seminal work."

Each of the production companies will donate 10% of their revenue to a local charity that acts for social justice or human services in their community. Iron Age Theatre will be supporting the work of Laurel House, a home for battered women. Plays and Players will help out Broad Street Ministry who provide services to the homeless and dispossessed in Center City Philadelphia. South Camden Theatre Company will offer support to the Center for Transformation, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental transformation and environmental justice particularly in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey.

 

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