With “Sojourners Project,” a new theatrical journey begins in Colorado  – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2021-09-20 08:00:53 –

Alicia Young had a dream. (In fact, she had several.) Actors, activists, directors, and theatrical Maven were sitting in a cafe in the Whittier district of Denver. Control group production of IDEA stage and veteran performance costumes.

The idea came true over the weekend when the first article in the series, Sojourners Project: Busing, opened in a sold-out home. (OK, sold-out parking lot. It runs until September 26th.)

“I just had this picture in my head,” Young said to her voice with great husky. “I’m a dreamer. That’s the way I come up with ideas. I’m in the backyard,” What if there was a black team gathered to talk about Rachel B. Noel? And behind it? What if I put a soundscape on it? ” “

An important figure in the history of Denver’s citizenship, Noel was the first black woman in the state to be elected when he began serving on Denver’s school board in 1965. In 1968, she introduced a plan to separate Denver Public School. Noel resolution. And Young’s dream was a gathering of local theater creatives. Many of them knew the way around the stage, and each worked to present a work that tells an unspoken story to an unserviced audience.

At the time, co-author Norma Johnson worked with a curious theater company and director Jada Susanne Dixon about her Ku Klux Klan in the Denver region and two white women in the crucible. I was working on the drama “Inheritance”. When COVID-19 hit, tours to local schools were shortened.

If you go

“Sojourners Project: Bus”, until September 26th. Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1500 S. Dayton Street, Aurora. For general admission and VIP tickets, please visit

Young also contacted Adrienne Martin-Fullwood, an actor and one of the forces behind the Aurora Theater Group 5280 Artists Co-op. Martin Fulwood’s daughter, Aubrey Fulwood, has arrived as a choreographer.

Young found a DJ at Bella Scratch of 104.7-The Drop. Sound designer CeCe Smith, who worked for the Local Theater Company, Aurora Fox and the Athena Project, also signed on.

Young smiled about her luck. “Everyone kept saying’yes’.”

Another important “yes” came from Patrick Mueller, Artistic Director of the Control Group. He was by Young at our first meeting and gave some thoughts, but most made Young bet on the terrain. In addition to creating fascinating black-box pieces like the historic summer piece “After the Flood,” Mueller and his dance performance outfits invest resources (technical, materials, finance). To support the production of works by black and brown artists.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Aurora, Colorado – August 30: Left-to-right, back row by Ilyanal Cerobaron, Ceces Smith, Aubrey Fullwood, Whitney Roy, Norma Johnson, (front lr) Amira Graham (girl), Alicia Young in the Sojourners Project: 2021 “Bus” at the parking lot of the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, August 30th. The play begins on September 9th and continues until September 26th. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)

The day I was talking to the group at Whittier Cafe, Mueller set out early to pick up the show’s biggest props and drive to the first place. If you drive to the rear parking lot of Aurora’s Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, you’ll see a full-sized yellow school bus named Chongpo, the central figure.

The stage is adjacent to one side of the bus. Here we talk about dancers, wise puppets, and a family of three generations, just part of an attempt to racist Denver.

Asked about the location, Young smiled. “It’s my parents’ church, so it’s free, so I’ll start there,” she said with a laugh.

Many local theater companies are beginning to seriously consider ways to tell stories to people who don’t always appear at the opening nights of theater. Indeed, some of this rumination was caused by a pandemic. Meeting spectators where they live is not a new strategy — consider Joe Pap’s early Shakespeare in the Park performance — but devoting himself to a poorly serviced community is ready for rethinking. I am.

COVID-19 also urged theater producers to consider different ways in which virtual space can be leveraged. The young puppet show Melanie Bindon and the “Sojourners” team have created additional content that can be found at: “There’s something interactive even if you don’t come to the show,” Young said. It is also often revelatory.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Aurora, Colorado – August 30: Faith Goins-Simmons and Gallieson dance during the rehearsal of the Sojourners Project: Bus at the parking lot of the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, August 30, 2021. It will run until September 26th. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)

“In’After the Flood’, we really struggled with our responsibility to make sure the audience was on the same page as us about what happened and to make sure they had the point.” Mueller said. “I didn’t know Rachel B. Noel’s name. I never knew there was a bombing at a bus stop in 1970. The very basic bullet point of this story is our public. It rarely exists in education. “

“Busing” is the first live production of the IDEA stage. The grassroots organization, conceived by young and local theater celebrities GerRee Hinshaw, Ilasiea Gray, Marisa D. Herbert, Regan Linton, Caitlin Lowans and Mare Trevathan, is more comprehensive in response to the 2020 social justice protest. It was founded to build an easily accessible theater culture. Colorado. The shape of the show represents IDEA’s “five pillars”: inclusion, diversity, equity, access and stage.

A visit to the Rising Star set during Tech Week emphasized how collaborative the process was. And how grateful are the creatives for giving us the opportunity to work together on the project. Their group gathered in the church room. Among them was Iliana Lucero Baron, who was late as a director and was involved in the production.

That’s because Young suffered a serious concussion in August and was unable to physically direct the show she worked hard on. Once again, her call met “Jesse.” Choreographer Aubrey Martin-Fulwood wore a new hat as co-director. Adrienne Martin-Fullwood helped Johnson polish the script. Young’s most important call was probably Baron’s.

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