(Chapel Hill, NC, February 23, 2017) The UNC Process Series, in association with the Department of Communication, presents Count, a look into the lives of six men on death row and their personal inheritances of violence, racism, mental illness, poverty—and sometimes surprising love. Friday March 3 and Saturday March 4 at 8:00pm, Swain Hall, Studio 6.
Based on writings and years of conversations with prisoners throughout the United States, Count invites us into a stark, fluorescent otherworld where the condemned struggle in the face of scheduled death to re-envision what it means to live fully. By challenging our assumptions about guilt and innocence and by providing a vehicle for the public to connect with the actual lives hidden within an often impenetrable system, we reinvigorate some fundamental questions. Who is innocent? Who is harmed? How do we heal centuries of oppression?
According to Artistic Director Joseph Megel, “Hidden Voices has been an artistic voice in NC amplifying under heard stories and advocating social justice for many years. It gives us at the Process Series great pleasure to acknowledge the good works of this vital community organization, and to support the launching of an important work of theatre.” After its developmental reading in the Process Series, PlayMakers Repertory Company will present Count as part of its PRC2 series next season.
“Working on Count has been one of the most fulfilling projects of my career. The stories the men shared with us are inspiring and beautiful. It is an honor to bring them in front of a wider audience,” says Kathryn Williams, Associate Director of Hidden Voices.
There will also be an associated panel discussion on the death penalty on Thursday, March 2 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Center for the Study of the American South (410 E. Franklin Street, at the corner of E. Franklin and Battle Lane). It will feature professors Frank Baumgartner and Isaac Unah (UNC Political Science); Jennifer Thompson (author of Picking Cotton and President of Healing Justice); and Lynden Harris (Director of Hidden Voices).
As always, admission is free with a suggested five-dollar donation. Seats can be reserved on the Process Series website. http://processseries.unc.edu. All performances are at Swain Hall Studio Six Theatre, on the UNC campus at 101 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
About the Artists
Lynden Harris is the Founder of Hidden Voices, a radically inclusive, participatory, and co-creative collective committed to creating a just, compassionate, and sustainable world. Through Hidden Voices, Harris collaborates with underrepresented communities to create award-winning works that combine narrative, performance, mapping, music, digital media, animation, and interactive exhibits. During her decades of work as an artist facilitating community connections, Harris developed the Hidden Voices Process, a participatory workshop model designed to empower change through collective visioning and collaborative action. Harris is also a member of the MAP Fund Class of 2016 for the project Serving Life: ReVisioning Justice and in 2014 was named a Founding Cultural Agent for the US Dept. of Arts and Culture. She also teaches Stories for Social Change (Theatre, Public Policy, Documentary Studies, Women’s Studies) at Duke University and
writes about community voices, the arts, and social justice issues.
Kathryn Hunter Williams (B.F.A., UNC School of the Arts; M.F.A., UNC-Chapel Hill) is senior lecturer in the Department of Dramatic Art and Associate Director for Hidden Voices. As Associate Director of Hidden Voices, Kathryn co-created performances with undocumented immigrant youth, families escaping violence, military spouses, survivors of sexual assault, African-American communities facing gentrification, refugees, and the currently incarcerated. She has also directed shows including To Buy the Sun; the Challenge of Pauli Murray, Orange Light, Radio Golf, Jitney, Nina Simone: What More Can I Say? Witness to an Execution (PRC2) and assistant directed Three Sisters and Big River (PlayMakers Repertory Company). A longstanding member of PlayMakers Repertory Company, she recently performed the role of Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel, and recent plays include The Crucible, Trouble in Mind, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, A Raisin in the Sun, The Imaginary Invalid, The Parchman Hour, Angels in America, Doubt, and Yellowman. She has also worked with Living Stage, The Negro Ensemble Company, and New Dramatists.
About Hidden Voices
Hidden Voices has the mission to challenge, strengthen, and connect our diverse communities through the transformative power of the individual voice. Hidden Voices offers diverse groups the opportunity to express their stories in a format that creates new pathways for personal engagement and civic connection. Often their participants, from literacy students to teen immigrants to survivors of domestic violence, are discussed from a deficit perspective. They are described by what they are in need of rather than by the strengths they already possess. Hidden Voices projects provide the unique opportunity to focus on the richness in their lives, to highlight the challenges they have overcome, and to envision a path forward for the broader community.
About the Process Series
Dedicated to the development of new and significant works in the performing arts, The Process Series (Joseph Megel, founding artistic director) features professionally mounted, developmental presentations of new works in progress. The mission of the Series is to illuminate the ways in which artistic ideas take form, to examine the creative process, to offer audiences the opportunity to follow artists and performers as they explore and discover and by so doing to enrich the development process for artists with the ultimate goal of better art and a closer relationship between artists and audiences. http://processseries.unc.edu
About the Department of Communication
Through teaching, research and service, the Department of Communication addresses the many ways communication functions to create, sustain, and transform personal life, social relations, political institutions, economic organizations, and cultural and aesthetic conventions in society; promotes competencies required for various modes of mediated and non-mediated communication; and develops skills for analyzing, interpreting and critiquing communication problems and questions. Visit http://comm.unc.edu/ for more information.
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