New Stage Theatre Presents ‘Oh, Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad’
In March, New Stage Theatre presented an in-school performance of “Oh, Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” and a classroom workshop at Casey Elementary School in Jackson as part of the theatre’s Arts-in-Education statewide Power Play touring program sponsored by Entergy Mississippi.
“New Stage Theatre’s production demonstrates the power of the arts in bringing important events from our history to life,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi. “Sponsoring the Power Play touring program and other educational initiatives is one of many ways we power life in our communities.”
The greatest collaboration against racism in American history, before the Civil Rights Movement, was the Underground Railroad. People of all ethnic backgrounds, of both sexes, and from North and South came together to resist the oppression of slavery by helping escapees make their way to free territory in the years before the Civil War.
“Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad,” written by Peter Manos, celebrates these alliances by combining stories with songs of the period. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented as well as lesser-known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, “Peg Leg” Joe and Henry “Box” Brown. The play is best suited for middle and high school audiences.
After the performance, acting company members held an open discussion with students to explore themes of the play and the experience of acting. Students also enjoyed a special post-show “History of the Underground Railroad” workshop.
“Oh Freedom!” is directed by Chris Roebuck, New Stage resident teaching artist, with music directed by Sharon Miles, New Stage education director. The play is performed by New Stage’s professional apprentice company members Kyle Parker Daniels, Jessica Debolt, Brianna Hill and Xerron Mingo.