Award-winning play and lecture series tackle issues of race, equity and neighborhood development
The University of Mississippi Department of Theatre Arts kicks off its fall season with a performance of “Clybourne Park” at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 23) in Meek Hall Auditorium.
Directed by Rory Ledbetter, associate professor of voice and acting, “Clybourne Park” is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play written by Bruce Norris in 2010. A social satirical piece with two acts set 50 years apart in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, “Clybourne Park” portrays the evolution of racial relations from integration in the 1950s to the eventual point of gentrification a half-century later.
If you are unable to attend Friday’s performance, do not fret. Several more dates, including both evening and matinee stagings, are scheduled over the next three weeks. For the full show schedule and ticket prices, visit the Ole Miss Theatre website. Tickets are also available at the Student Union Box Office.
To encourage discussion of issues presented in the play, “Multidisciplinary Conversations Surrounding “Clybourne Park,’” a three-part “lunch and learn” lecture series has been organized with the cooperation of several different academic departments across campus. Attendees get a free lunch and the speakers will discuss topics raised by “Clybourne Park” with the hope of educating and promoting conversation in the community.
Michael Barnett, chair and associate professor of theatre arts, spearheaded the project.
“It is our goal to encourage an ongoing conversation around the issues that are presented in the play,” Barnett said. “Through the lecture series, the community will be able to see how these issues that are struggled with on stage are impacting people all over the country, and right here in north Mississippi.
“Through this collaboration, we hope that we will be able to reach a broader audience and expand the exploration of these themes beyond the theater.”
The first speaker is John Green, professor of sociology and director of the UM Center for Population Studies. Green’s lecture, “Exploration of the Social and Community Factors Associated with Gentrification in Global and Local Contexts,” is set for noon Sept. 30 in Meek Hall Auditorium.
Next up is Rebecca Marchiel, assistant professor of history. Her lecture, “From Panic Peddling to Gentrification: Clybourne Park in Historical Perspective,” is slated for noon Oct. 5 in Meek Hall Auditorium.
The final speaker of the series is Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the university’s William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Stollman’s lecture, “Clybourne Park and Community: A Contemporary Dialogue Around Equity and Residential Spaces,” is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Winter Institute, on the third floor of Lamar Hall.
The lectures are free and open to the public; however, space is limited. To reserve a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org.