WEEKENDS 6/3-5, 11-13: ‘Tinner Hill: Portraits in Black and White,’ Original Theater Production
Creative Cauldron, in collaboration with the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation (THHF), will premiere “Tinner Hill: Portraits in Black and White,” an original work of theater based on the stories of local Falls Church civil rights pioneers.
It was created over a year-long development process through funding from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arts Council of Fairfax County.
Working closely with Nikki Graves Henderson and Edwin B. Henderson from THHF, Creative Cauldron Producing Director Laura Connors Hull and veteran theater artist Oran Sandel researched oral histories and documents from African American residents of Falls Church.
Lisa Hill-Corley and Jennifer Goldsmith, two MFA candidates in George Mason University’s Creative Writing Program, were tasked with creating a final performance script inspired by the material.
“Tinner Hill: Portraits in Black and White” will play at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Avenue, from June 3 through 13. The second weekend of performances will be held in conjunction with the Tinner Hill Blues Festival in the City of Falls Church. Press Night is Saturday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.
This new work explores the history of Falls Church, as seen through the lens of some of its most influential African Americans. Through a series of monologues, dramatized scenes and blues-inspired music, we are taken on an inspiring journey of resistance and resilience that began before the Civil War and that continues to the present day.
We encounter a community where free people of color and enslaved people and their descendants become significant Falls Church property owners, merchants, and even serve on the town Council; in short, a community where blacks and whites live and work side by side in relative harmony, despite the charged political climate that embroiled the nation in the aftermath of the Civil War.
We also encounter the swinging pendulum of race relations and the persistent efforts of town segregationists. Throughout the play, we explore a history that doesn’t appear in official textbooks, and come to better understand the experience of being an African American in the early days of a growing and changing Virginia community.
“Tinner Hill: Portraits in Black and White” is the last offering this season in Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater series. An ensemble of professional actors will be featured in a cast that also includes student and community performers.
Professional cast includes: Azania Dungee, Ayesis Clay, Kevin Ray Johnson, Kofi Owusu, Oran Sandel, Ryan Walker and Talmach White. Scenic and costume design is being provided Margie Jervis with contributions from Falls Church Arts scenic painter and collage artist David Barr and watercolor artist Bill Abel. Together they will create an installation that explores the cultural and political landscape of the production.
Creative Cauldron is a non-profit arts organization whose innovative programs in the performing and visual arts embody collaboration, experimentation and community. It has been operating in Northern Virginia since 2002, and in June of 2009 acquired a permanent home in ArtSpace Falls Church, a 3,000 square foot flexible arts space that provides a venue for year-round classes, performances and exhibits.
The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation (THHF), established in 1997, is a non-profit tax-exempt organization, founded to support a variety of activities that preserve, present, and interpret the Falls Church area’s rich African-American heritage and legacy. The mission of the Foundation features, as an identified and primary goal, the ground-breaking efforts of pioneering African Americans who sought and fought for their rights in myriad ways and at various times in the City’s and the country’s history. THHF also recognizes the achievements of special individuals and groups who champion equality; and promotes understanding and respect for all people through educational and cultural programs and activities.
Tickets for “Tinner Hill: Portraits in Black and White” can be purchased at www.creativecauldron.org or by calling 571-239-5288.
Performance & Event Schedule:
Previews: June 3 & 4* at 7:30 p.m. and June 5 at 2 p.m.
Press Opening is June 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Additional performances: June 6 at 4 p.m., June 11** & 12** at 7:30 p.m., June 12** at 2 p.m., June 13** at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
*FIRSTfriday of Falls Church Gallery Reception at 6:30 p.m. with Falls Church Arts.
**Performed in conjunction with the city wide Tinner Hill Blues Festival. For more info log on to www.tinnerhill.org
By Special to the Falls Church Times
May 30, 2010