Stages for a New Millennium
Announces Participants

Huntington Theatre Company has chosen the Boston-based artists, groups, and individuals set to participate in Stages for a New Millennium, its innovative multi-ethnic, multi-generational community arts program that combines oral history with the performing and visual arts. .

Last fall, the Huntington's Department of Education and Outreach, in association with the Boston Center for the Arts, began recruiting and training a team of interviewers who will record the stories of members of the Boston community. Artists will, in turn, take those stories and interpret them through dance, music, visual arts and performance.

The selected interviewers (comprised of both young people and elders from the South End, the Fenway, Mission Hill and Lower Roxbury) are Boston-area students May Cao and LaToya Correa; and adults Adele Beer, George Credle, Annie Donovan, Niki Janus, Hilda Schwartz, Magda Spasiano and Aisha Yasin. They have been trained to take oral histories in a series of sessions with Hazel Bright, a professor at Tufts University.

The trained interviewers were assigned specific subjects to question. Among those interviewed were Boston students Suzy Chan, Calvin Feliciano, William Li and twins Sharmaine and Jermaine Hamiton, as well as Michael Reed; Pauline Harris, who has been involved in two previous Stages as an actress; long-time South End residents Sonny Washington and Paul Duffy, both of whom grew up in the South End; Myra McAdoo, whose evenings were often spent listening to the jazz greats of the era perform in clubs around Boston; John Sacco, who was a policeman in the South End for many years; and Jovita Fontanez, a longtime Boston activist. The subjects' stories were taped and transcribed, providing material for professional artists.

The interpretive artists for Stages are playwright Kirsten Greenidge, visual artist Chandra Dieppa Ortiz, composer High Hinton from The Core Ensemble, and the Bennett Dance Company, led by dancer/choreographer Christine Bennett.

The artists will use their respective disciplines to convey the stories of the oral historians. They will work together as an artistic team to create a cohesive story. As an example, the colors from visual art may become the scenic colors in a performance, the music for a piece may provide music for a dance number or a slide from a piece of art may become the backdrop to a performance.

Two prior versions of the Huntington's Stages program (1993-95 and 1998-2000) used theatre and photography to showcase the stories told. Stages For a New Millennium is an expanded effort featuring a multidisciplinary approach. A broader-based group of community members, including the interviewers and storytellers, will provide feedback to the project.

The project will culminate in a series of performances and presentations in early 2005 to be held in the new Theatre Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). The performances will be FREE and open to the public. They will include student matinees, accompanied by curriculum guides for teachers.

-- OnStage Boston


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