Community Matters is an experiment in community engagement using staged readings of play scripts as a catalyst for discussion, connection and sharing of resources. Attendees will learn more about a topic of interest from the experts, and perhaps get more involved with the issue. Our partner organizations will be there to capture the enthusiasm and excitement that can come from the emotional response to a work of art, and then a well-led public discussion forum.
The Community Matters program is made possible by a grant from the Barra Foundation with additional support from the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation.
October 17, 2012 at 7pm & November 28, 2012 at 7pm
Directed by Abigail Adams
Theater of War is an innovative public health project that presents readings of ancient Greek plays, Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the challenges faced by service men and women, veterans, their families, caregivers and communities. Using Sophocles’ plays to forge a common vocabulary for openly discussing the impact of war on individuals, families, and communities, these events will
be aimed at generating compassion and understanding between diverse audiences.
Ajax tells the story of a fierce warrior who slips into a depression near the end of The Trojan War, attempts to murder his commanding officers, fails, and takes his own life. It is also the story of how Ajax’s wife and troops attempt to intervene before it’s too late.
Panelists for the discussion will include combat veterans, family members of veterans and medical professionals from the veterans’ community.
Community partners include the Philadelphia Veterans Administration, the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum, and the Coatesville Veterans Administration.
This performance is made possible by the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in collaboration with the USO.
By Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.
February 27, 2012 at 7pm
Directed by Ron Russell
An Above The Fold project developed at Epic Theatre Ensemble
Leading up to Barack Obama’s inauguration, Godfrey Simmons (a 42-year-old black man and former People’s Light company member), and Brandt Adams (a 24-year-old white man) traveled the country conducting interviews about race in America. This theatre piece uses the exact words of the interviewees as they speak about what meaning this historic election has for them.
Panelists for the discussion will include the cast from the reading.
Community partners include the Chester County Democratic Committee and the Republican Committee of Chester County.
By Danai Gurira
March 26, 2012 at 7pm
Directed by Jade King Carroll
Their lives set on a nightmarish detour by Liberian civil war, the captive wives of a rebel
officer form a hardscrabble sisterhood. With the arrival of a new girl who can read, and
the return of an old one who can kill, the group’s possibilities are quickly transformed.
Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, these defiant survivors wonder if when the
fog of battle lifts, a different destiny could emerge.
Panelists for the discussion will include those who work on issues about the treatment of women, particularly in conflict areas.
Community partners include Women’s Way, the Women’s Resource Center, Women’s Campaign International, and Chester County Fund for Women and Girls.
By Pete Pryor
May 14, 2012 at 7pm
Directed by Samantha Bellomo
This first play by actor/director Pete Pryor earned him an Independence Fellowship. At around 18 months of age, Pete’s son was diagnosed with ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. This two-person impressionistic piece follows a family on its journey from the fearful time of the diagnosis to the finding of an approach and a home program. Scenes of a father dealing with work, travel, and the myriad of therapeutic approaches are inter cut with glimpses of his family’s life and a look at the community that helps his son. It is a piece full of life, humor, and deep love.
Panelists for the discussion will include family members and those impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder on a daily basis, as well as professionals from organizations that assist families.
Community partners include Autism Living and Working, the Wanna Play Program, and the Autism Society of America (Philadelphia Chapter).
By Leanna Brodie
June 11, 2012 at 7pm
Directed by Wendy Bable
In a one-room schoolhouse in rural Ontario in 1938, a delightfully unruly group
of children meets its match in 18-year-old Miss Linton, fresh out of Normal
School. But Linton’s greatest challenge is to connect with Ewart, a menacing delinquent
who is shut off from everyone, even himself, and to persuade a conservative community
to open its arms to him. Playwright Brodie says, “I wanted to look at…how children
were cared for and accepted, and what happened when they were not”.
Panelists for the discussion will include families of troubled youth and professionals who deal with issues of bullying and children at risk.
Community partners include Big Brothers Big Sisters of SE PA and Chester County Futures.