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Let Your Children Tell
Commissioned in 2001 by the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, Let Your Children Tell, was created to demonstrate to the state’s young people what happens when racism goes unchecked. Through journal entries of four young people caught in the net of Nazi racism—a German and an Austrian Gypsy who experienced Auschwitz, a Dutch girl who hid in Amsterdam and a 13 year-old- Hungarian confined to a ghetto--each tells how Nazi laws and pogroms affected his or her life. The production is accompanied by an original violin score, played live. Since its premiere, this production has been performed across the state in middle and high schools for more than 100,000 young people. Classroom evaluations have demonstrated significant student gains in understanding history.
5 actors, 45 minutes • Suitable for Middle and High Schoolers
Let Your Children Tell brings stories of unimaginable horror that are told matter‐of‐factly for the most part by the young characters. Their individual stories of horror, collected and skillfully interwoven by author/director Brenda Schleunes, show the awful human cost of racial prejudice and injustice run amok. Schleunes has selected passages from diaries and letters to show how family affection, concerns about boyfriends, clothes or education were shattered and submerged in the struggle to stay alive in a sea of death and hate. On a bare stage, handling a minimum of props, the players carry their words and thoughts into movements well choreographed by Anne Deloria. Designed to tour, the production was commissioned by the North Carolina Council. No stronger appeal for humanity and understanding of the evils of hate and prejudice can be imThe stories of unimaginable horror are told matter‐of‐factly for the most part by the young characters. Their individual stories of horror, collected and skillfully interwoven by author/director Brenda Schleunes, show the awful human cost of racial prejudice and injustice run amok. Schleunes has selected passages from diaries and letters to show how family affection, concerns about boyfriends, clothes or education were shattered and submerged in the struggle to stay alive in a sea of death and hate. On a bare stage, handling a minimum of props, the players carry their words and thoughts into movements well-choreographed by Anne Deloria. Designed to tour, the production was commissioned by the North Carolina Council on the No strong appeal for humanity and understanding of the evils of hate and prejudice can be stronger than the actual words of these children.
News & Record
The Life and Times of Fannie Lou Hamer
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” These famous words uttered by Mississippi sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer, explains her persistence in her efforts to become what she called, “a first-class citizen”. Thus, when the Freedom Riders came to Sunflower County, Mississippi Fannie Lou Hamer was among the first black persons to attempt to register to vote. She was one of two allowed to take the literary test which she failed. Upon her return home, she was fired from her job on the plantation. Shots fired into the house where she was thought to be staying. Things grew more difficult as local sheriffs and their deputies beat her and threatened to kill her. But she was steadfast in her determination. “Killing or no killing, I am staying with civil rights”. Today she is recognized as one of the most important leaders in the civil rights movement. The Life and Times of Fannie Lou Hamer is her story.
Review of The Life and Times of Fannie Lou Hamer
Few companies can be relied on to provide such thought-provoking dramas, shows that will have audience members pondering and arguing weeks after the curtain has come down. So, after an election year in which less than 60 percent of registered voters in the United States cast ballots, it's a vital reminder that for the majority in this country, voting is a hard-won symbol of freedom that should never be ignored or taken lightly.—Leslie Mizell, News and Record
4 actors, 45 minutes • Suitable for Middle and High Schoolers
It's not always easy to watch productions by the Touring Theatre Ensemble of North Carolina. The troupe often tells stories that simply need to be told, and it can be difficult to bear witness to these tales of injustice, hardship and perseverance. Few companies, however, can be relied on to provide such thought-provoking dramas, shows that will have audience members pondering and arguing weeks after the curtain has come down.. "The Life and Times of Fannie Lou Hamer" is the story of a Mississippi sharecropper who rose to national prominence as a civil rights activist dedicated, among other causes, to register black voters. In her mid-forties when the first Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee members spoke at her church - which was the first time she realized she even had the right to vote - she eventually ran for Congress and spoke at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The drama is informative and entertaining,.
As is standard with the ensemble's productions, "Fannie Lou Hamer" is presented on a bare stage with minimal props, which in no way impedes its storytelling power.Nicely interspersed through the story is a series of spirituals and freedom songs well sung by the cast. and any audience member who cares to join. Brenda Schleunes culled the story from texts, transcripts and other records of Hamer's life. Her script is sometimes poetic ("with sore hands and numb souls"), but is basically as down-to-earth as Hamer herself. "She did good work" is the eulogy one character gives Hamer. And isn't that the best any of us could hope would be said of us?
News & Record
Duke Ellington Uptown
Touring Theatre of North Carolina celebrates one of America’s greats with its original cabaret/biographyDuke Ellington Uptown
Five actors, accompanied by piano, upright bass and drums, sing, scat and strut sixteen of the Duke’s remarkable classics. While biographical and historical facts are woven throughout the music, the overall piece shines as a delightful evening of song.
Tightly woven melodies flow from chords sewn together with highlights from Ellington’s prolific career, told in vignettes by the performers during musical numbers. The storytelling is subtle; it’s easy to forget you’re getting a history lesson and some great music.
From The Touring Theatre of North Carolina’s website: “The Touring Theatre of North Carolina is dedicated to providing unique and effective learning experiences through professional theatre.” Artistic Director Brenda Schleunes seeks to infuse the stories, lives, and events told through theater with a sense of dignity. “Duke Ellington did not see himself as a jazz musician,” she told me, “He considered himself a composer. I wanted this piece to celebrate the life, music, and accomplishments of one of the most prolific American composers of our time.”
Each singer brings a unique style to Ellington’s songs, performing with infectious joy. The trick to performing Duke Ellington’s difficult material is to never overdo it—to trust the music, and let it flow through and outward. There’s no need to “act” Ellington’s songs. The notes and words will take care of that for you, if you just show up. It’s evident that Director Brenda Schleunes, Music Director Perry Morgan, and the ensemble did just that, allowing “The Duke” to feel relaxed and dignified in the elegance of a designer showroom on a lovely Spring afternoon in downtown Greensboro.
Special to Triad City Beat
Star Spangled Girls
Commissioned in 2005 by UNC Greensboro’s Women Veterans Historical Collection, Star-Spangled Girls is a review built from diaries, letters, interviews, telegrams, journals, and posters by and about the women who served the United States during WWII. Five actresses portray WAC’s, WAVE’s, Army Nurses, and Red Cross volunteers as they share memories about enlistment, basic training, service at home and abroad, love, and segregation. Songs from war time are woven throughout the production.
5 actors, 70 minutes
Star-Spangled Girls offers fascinating personal stories of catching spies on U.S. soil or setting up hospitals at the battlefront. The fact that these anecdotes are from women makes this production from the Touring Theatre of North Carolina that much more interesting. The company’s founder and artistic director, Brenda P. Schleunes, wrote the play based onthe letters, transcripts and other material that make up UNCG’s Women Veterans Historical Collection. The result is an extremely personal account of World War II activities by women who served as Army nurses, Red Cross workers, WACS (Women’s Army Corps), WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).Five women capably jump in and out of characters as they tell their stories of love and loss, patriotism and discrimination, wild adventure and numbing routine. Their tales are interspersed with song snippets of the era (“Over There” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”).The actors fall in and out of accents – or even male characters – as the differing stories unfold revealing the strength, curiosity and gusto with which they became pioneers in the women’s movement.
News & Record
In Deployed veterans and their families speak through written words with the voices of skilled actors serving as the vessels by which these deeply moving and haunting stories are communicated. Stretching over a century and a half of military conflict, the selected pieces have been arranged in such a way as to trace the journey of service members and their families through enlistment, deployment, homecoming, and, lastly, 'in memoriam.' Although the writings are from seven different wars, they are juxtaposed, one war against another. Thus, the audience experiences individual stories, but discovers ways in which a veteran of Iraq shares a certain kind of kinship with a veteran from World War I and how that World War I veteran touches the experiences of a veteran from Vietnam. Although Deployed includes the words of veterans from several states, the production features a proportionately large number of writers from North Carolina with the words accompanied and highlighted by North Carolina blues harmonica and guitar.
6 actors, 60 minutes
Touring Theatre of North Carolina’s production of Deployed provides a first-hand- glimpse into war and acts as a platform for veterans to free speak for themselves.
Classical Voice of North Carolina
The presence of veterans and their family in the audience added a touch of sensitivity that could have never been expressed in words. For civilians in the audience, hearing quiet sobs from the crowd made the readings all too real.
@touring_theatre"Deployed" is one of the best shows I've ever seen!! I can't stop talking about it!! there’s much to be absorbed from the heartfelt drama and the chance to really feel a part of something. Thanks soooo much
You have brought healing and a sense of pride to me; I deeply appreciated the depth of your presentation,
Letter to the company
Please email or call Kay Thomas for booking information • 336.337.4925 • firstname.lastname@example.org