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.
Women's Anti Slavery Society, Lucretia Mott and other human rights activists mural - across from Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground - Germantown Ave., Fairhill area.
From July, 2019 through March 2020 we worked with 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 The Providence Center.
We performed our newest play, Under the Bonnet, based on the life and work of Lucretia Mott, James Mott, and Frederick Douglass at Julia de Burgos Elementary School and The Providence Center, among other venues.
Due to Covid-19 some performances in the Philadelphia area needed to be cancelled.
When the City of Philadelphia permitted
outdoor performances, we partnered with Historic Fair Hill to perform a shorter version of the play two times on August 22nd at Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground. It was free to the public and social distancing protocols were followed.
Due to Covid-19 much of our community engagement work in the spring and summer of 2020 has needed to be through Zoom. With our team of lead artists we are continuing to work throughout 2020-21 with a culminating performance in the summer of 2021. Our lead artists are: Eric Carter, Director; Sofía Anastasia, Director; and Alec Hersh, Playwright.
On September 1, 2020 we partnered with social practice artist, Gigi McGraw, and Fairhill Neighbors for a "share-out" story circle on Zoom, sharing histories and ideas for further engagement. We are enthusiastic about the ongoing play development and are continuing to plan more events in and with the community. Stay tuned for updates!
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