The Cleveland State University Dramatic Arts Program will present the world premiere of Wilberforce, the engaging and controversial new work about progress, tradition and America’s first black college by playwright and screenwriter Keith Josef Adkins. The production is directed by Jimmie Woody.
Wilberforce runs February 19–March 1, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Cleveland State University Factory Theatre, located at 1833 East 24th Street, between Chester and Payne avenues. Free parking is available.
Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students, seniors and CSU faculty/staff. For ticket reservations, please call the box office at 216.687.2109. Tickets may also be purchased one-half hour before show time.
Wilberforce was originally developed as staged readings at Cleveland Public Theatre and the National Black Theater Festival. Both play and playwright won Best New Play and Playwright awards at the New Play Festival at Cleveland Public Theatre.
The play is based in the year 1856. Shepard, a free man of color and full-time pig slaughterer, strives to keep his ailing daughter, Dannie, alive. But when Wilberforce, America’s first black college, opens next door to his home in Green County, Ohio, his son’s aspiration of being well-educated threatens his tight-knit family and the safety of his daughter. Mixed ancestry, sickle-cell anemia, and the hysteria created by a need to be “civilized” haunt the halls of Wilberforce. The play pits progress against tradition and self-fulfillment against bonds of family.
Adkins’ other works include Safe House, a commission honoring August Wilson from the Alliance Theater (Goodman Theater New Stages Series) and Farewell Miss Cotton (Black Dahlia Theater, Los Angeles.)
The play marks director Woody's first collaboration with Cleveland State University. He has directed productions at Cleveland Public Theatre, Karamu House and Cuyahoga Community College. The play features CSU students Kevin Marr, II, Tamara Isabell, Bryan Jones and Arana Lynch and Cuyahoga Community College student Joella Blount.
Visit www.csuohio.edu/theater to learn more about CSU’s Dramatic Arts Program.
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