Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:36

Our Civil War

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Virginia (1865) The major economic and political issues of the day, such as the institution of slavery and states' rights are interwoven into the program to offer a contextual understanding of life during the Civil War.  
Charlotte Beauregard, a Virginian, is devastated when her two sons, Samuel and Nathan both join the fighting. Samuel enlists with the Confederate Army while Nathan joins the Union Army. We watch with Charlotte as key events, such as the first shots at Fort Sumter, the Battle of Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address shape the era, and we get to know the political positions of Presidents Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln.  The bravery of Harriet Tubman and her involvement in the Underground Railroad are stated and honored. After a poignant rendition of Pickett's Charge-the Confederate Army's final attempt to overcome the northern forces in Gettysburg--the program shifts to a joyous celebration as Charlotte’s two sons are reunited at the farm house.  A lively square dance marks the festive occasion.  The program concludes with the southern surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, VA.  

Charlotte Beauregard - is a fictitious upper-class southern belle.  She wears an elaborate hoop shirt, with matching head piece and gloves.  Speaking in a southern dialect, the character creates a realistic depiction of nineteenth-century mores.

Best for grades 4 - Adult

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:33

The Industrial Revolution’s Gilded Age

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The Industrial Revolution’s Gilded Age 
(Set in 1891) This performance poignantly contrasts the opulent robber barons with the impoverished workers of the age. Beginning with the grand opening of a “settlement house,” the need for progressive social reform is established. Key factors in the industrial revolution’s development: power, transportation and technology are revealed through the introduction of three dominant figures: James Watt (steam engine), Cornelius Vanderbilt (railroad) and Thomas Edison (inventions). 

 As American industry exploded, immigrants poured into the system by the millions. Their squalid living conditions and working environment, along with the tragic practice of child labor, are depicted. And the response to mass homelessness among urban children is illustrated with the creation of the orphan trains.  

The show then shifts to opulence and grandeur with an elegant gala and graceful dance. In attendance are robber barons Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.

The program concludes with an ominous account of the Johnstown Flood.

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:31

Women's Rights

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Nashville - 1920   Women's Rights re-enacts critical events in the development of the early women's movement, focusing on both the women and men who shaped its early days. 
     The program opens with the Tennessee legislature voting on whether or not to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  If Tennessee votes favorably, women will have won the right to vote.  The story then shifts to the beginning of the women's movement at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England.  In attendance are leading suffragists Lucretia and James Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and William Lloyd Garrison. 

Eight years later, at the first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, NY we hear Frederick Douglass famously say, "If women do not have the right to vote, they will never have the power to make the changes they need."  In 1850, Susan B. Anthony takes up the cause and serves as it's most prominent champion for the next fifty years. 
     By the turn of the century, women's social and economic lives had changed dramatically, and their autonomy is portrayed with a free-spirited dance in a 1919 dance hall.  They were still, however, far from their ultimate goal.  A poignant rendition of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (the workplace of Siga Schoennwolf) depicts the continuing exploitation of women workers. 
     The program concludes with the announcement of the legislative results--the passage of the "Susan B. Anthony Nineteenth Amendment".  Women, at last, have the right to vote.

Siga Schoennwolf  Miss Schoennwolf is a fictitious working-class woman, living in New York City.  She emigrated from Lithuania in 1905.  After witnessing firsthand the exploitation of women, she joined the courageous minority who stood up for women's suffrage.

Best for grades 4 - Adult

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:29

Journey of an Irish Immigrant

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Liverpool - 1894 - Journey of an Irish Immigrant follows the path of immigrant, Maggie McLaughlin and her sister, Annie as they make their way across the Atlantic. 
     The voyage begins in Liverpool, England with a depiction of the sisters' preparations and the items commonly found in immigrants' trunks.  While centered on the sisters' journey, the program encompasses the broader immigrant experience, focusing on the harsh conditions of the boats and the courage it took to sail across the ocean.
     Though transatlantic travel was challenging, Maggie and her sister engage a Russian family in a high-stepping Irish dance aboard the boat.  Once in America, the immigrants are then subjected to the rigorous examinations (including physical exams and testing one's capacity to find work) at Ellis Island.  As they embark on their new life in America, some of the newly arrived travelers face the prejudices encountered by many in "the land of opportunity."

Maggie McLaughlin - is a fictitious Irish woman emigrating from County Cork, Ireland.  She is in search of a richer life in America.  Maggie is strong and hopeful as she confronts the exploitation and discrimination of her people upon her arrival.

Best for grades 4 - Adult

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:26

The American Revolution

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Philadelphia - 1776   The American Revolution depicts the major events that led up to the revolt against the British when taxes were imposed on the colonists after the French and Indian War.    
     With the help of fiery Sam Adams, Abigail Datchery (and students) reconstruct the 1770's Boston Massacre, the 1773 Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's historic ride to Lexington, where the first shot of the revolution was fired. 
     Along with turning points in our country's political history, the show depicts eighteenth-century customs, including an aristocratic formal gala.  The dance (attended by John Hancock, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin) is led by Miss Datchery and performed beautifully by the students and teachers.

Abigail Datchery - Miss Datchery is a fictitious character patterned after the colonial aristocracy in the late eighteenth-century. 
     Her exquisite custom-made dress is complete with a bum-roll and farthingale to extend her skirt.  She also sports a matching hat and powdered wig, in keeping the fashion of the colonial period. 

Best for grades 4 - 8

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 22:23

The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

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Egypt - 1473 BC - The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt encompasses major achievements throughout the first half of Egypt's four-thousand-year history. 
     At the top of the show, Queen Hatshepsut from the XVIII Dynasty establishes that Egypt is without a ruling pharaoh.  The mystery of who will serve as the next Pharaoh will unfold with the upcoming annual flood of the Nile.  The Queen and her vizier (the highest ranking official), Senmut, explain how the river's water level is measured during the yearly flood by the use of the nilometer. 
     As we prepare for the new leader's appearance, we visit with great pharaohs from the past--the Narmer palette (the oldest document in human history) reveals the importance of Narmer, Egypt's original king.  The pharaoh Djoser is commemorated by the creation of the first pyramid, designed by the architect, Imhoptep.  The splendor of the pyramid contrasts with the great toll its construction took on the local farmers enlisted to build it.
     As the show returns to the day of Queen Hatshepsut, we watch her father, Tuthmose I, prepare for his Sed Festival with the creation of exquisite wall art in a temple built for the occasion.  The Queen then surprises her father with a group of dancers from Luxor.  A beautiful Egyptian dance is performed (by the Queen and students) to his delight.  The program concludes with the crowning of the new Pharaoh and the great mystery is solved.

Hatshepsut was the historical "Great Wife", (queen) who married her half-brother, Tuthmose II.  At his death, she was left the ruling regent of Egypt.  She wears an ornate royal headpiece and traditional black wig.  A bejeweled royal collar, waistband and armband denote her royal status.

Best for grades 4 - adult

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Thursday, 20 December 2012 08:26

The Colonial Faire

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Pennsylvania - 1730's

The Colonial Faire is a really fun program based on the life of an indentured servant.  The show depicts the arduous life of early America as well as the revelry.  Though days of rest and merriment are few, today is the day of the Colonial Faire.  With the excitement of the faire on everyone's mind, villagefolk eagerly apply themselves to their work in order to enjoy the day.  Beginning with a list of chores already performed, servant Katie Cotswold invites the assistance of those around her to gather the dye for the wool, prepare the wool to be dyed (including carding) and make deliveries.  On her travels she encounters various townsfolk including French trapper - Jean Claude Guillaume, tavern-keep, Mistress Reinhardt and the Barnaby boys.  Finally, she is off to the village square to partake in the Faire.  A variety of colonial games are played by the folks from the village (students).  The day concludes with a rollicking and coloful Maypole dance.

Katie Cotswold - is a fictitious colonial woman.  As this is a day of merry-making, she wears her best yet simple colonial dress and servant's hat with an apron and black shoes.

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