Gigi McGraw performs Letters to Aunt Hattie at Historic Fair Hill Women's History Student Essay Awards Ceremony at St. John's Memorial Baptist Church - across from Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground on Cambria Street.
In July, 2019 Georgina Bard, our artistic director, began the work of community engagement in the Fairhill area of Philadelphia in our move toward the development and creation of a theatre production about and with the community. Our connection to the neighborhood first began in 2018 with our partnership with Jean Warrington of Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground and the premiere of our one woman play, Letters to Aunt Hattie by Gigi McGraw, based on the life of Harriet Forten Purvis. Purvis is interred at the burial ground and we performed the play at Julia de Burgos elementary school and the Historic Fair Hill Women’s History Student Essay Awards Ceremony, among other venues.
From July, 2019 through March 2020 we have engaged other professionals such as Erlina Ortiz, Nell Bang-Jensen, Gigi McGraw, Janet Wasser and Mary Walton in the beginning stages of our Fairhill community engagement work. We have participated in community events, researched the history of the area, facilitated story circles and community dialogs, and directed an After School Drama Club (Sept – Dec, 2019) at Providence Center. Our newest play is based on the life and work of Lucretia Mott, who is also interred at Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground. This play, Under the Bonnet by Shelli Pentimall Bookler, was performed at Julia de Burgos Elementary School and Providence Center among other venues. It will continue to be performed in the summer and fall of 2020 at more venues in the Fairhill area as well as other Philadelphia locations.
Women's Anti Slavery Society, Lucretia Mott and other human rights activists mural - across from Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground - Germantown Ave., Fairhill area.
Mural on the wall of Providence Center - North 5th Street in Fairhill - the mural was an inspiration for a devised theatre project for the students in the After School Drama Club at Providence Center led by BTP teaching artists - December 2019
Our community engagement has currently slowed down due to the corona virus health crisis. However, we plan to continue our work with the community for the remainder of 2020 through the summer of 2021 as we co-create a play modeled from the work of Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles, who have been our inspiration and mentors.
Stay tuned for updates!