This 40 minute interactive theater experience features freedom songs, speeches, testimonies, and character-driven drama happening around the audience. The Birmingham Children’s March, a mass meeting performance in two acts, begins at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the morning that African American youth are about to face Bull Connor’s fire hoses and police dogs for the first time. James Bevel and Ruth Greenberg, two civil rights activists, encounter a Birmingham student who expresses reservations about participating in the march. They are also confronted by a voice of dissent from within the African American community who disagrees with the tactic of placing children and teenagers in harm’s way. Act II is also set in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church a few days after the children’s demonstrations have begun. A Birmingham student shares their experience of having participated in the marches and being arrested.
The aim of the performance is to use the example set by the children of Birmingham to encourage today’s youth to discover their inner strength and courage which can help them transform themselves and the world around them. The character of the Birmingham student in the play was inspired by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, a native of Birmingham, who took part in these 1963 marches. Dr. Hrabowski, the current President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is a family friend of playwright Alan Marshall.
“The mission of THE MARCH Civil Rights Arts Project is to honor those brave and beautiful souls who were a part of the civil rights movement and to inspire future generations with the legacy of this vital period of American history,” says Marshall. “The legacy of this children’s crusade in Birmingham is that it helped to motivate a reluctant President Kennedy to introduce the 1963 Civil Rights Bill.”
Chicago principals have responded enthusiastically about bringing this production to their schools. The production is engaged for a dozen performances over the next two weeks with more shows being booked each week. Marshall is casting actors in other cities to share this story with more students throughout the remainder of this school year. He plans to make it available to schools in 10 – 15 cities for the 2014 – 2015 school year.
THE MARCH is pleased to have partnered with Urban Gateways to bring The Birmingham Children’s March to Chicago- area schools. Founded in 1961, Urban Gateways has reached more than 100,000 Chicago-area youth delivering high-quality arts programs led by trained and experienced professional artists in music, dance, theater, literary arts, visual arts, and digital media to engage youth in grades pre-K through 12, their teachers, families, and communities.
THE MARCH Civil Rights Arts Project was founded by Alan Marshall to produce an exhaustive collection of dramatic works that span the era of the civil rights movement from 1955 – 1968 using the mediums of theatre, dance and opera. In addition to The Birmingham Children’s March, Marshall has written and produced Shades of Mississippi, The Interview: JFK, Remembering Medgar Evers, THE MARCH: A Civil Rights Opera and Prelude to a Dream. Marshall directed Prelude to a Dream on August 27th, 2013 in Washington, D.C. , the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. He is currently writing Freedom Summer about the 1964 civil rights campaign when one thousand college students organized and made history in Mississippi.
“We are humbled by the legacy that has been entrusted to us,” said writer Alan Marshall. “We continue to work tirelessly to create and tell stories from the civil rights era that will serve art, history and humanity”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION PLEASE CONTACT:
Henry Sinclair 312.608.5813 (tel:312.608.5813) firstname.lastname@example.org
TO SCHEDULE A PERFORMANCE:
Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh 312.922.0440 (tel:312.922.0440)