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Long Wharf Theatre to partner with the New Haven Free Public Library on a series of community conversations

 

Long Wharf Theatre and the New Haven Free Public Library announce a series of community conversations taking place in May about the complex issues of race and real estate in the city of New Haven.

The partnership between the two organizations, called “Stage. Page. Engage.”, is being facilitated by the ‘Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations’ Project, a two-year pilot funded by Bill Graustein. The partnership began in April 2012.

Local historians Colin Caplan, Tom Ficklin, and with additional historians to be announced will lead a series of conversations specifically targeted to each branch of the New Haven Free Public Library system. The historians will discuss the evolution of the particular city neighborhood where the conversation is being held. In addition to the local historians, people from each neighborhood are encouraged to attend and offer their own personal perspectives on the place where they live. 

Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting will introduce each neighborhood exploration with a scene from Long Wharf Theatre’s production of Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris, presented by local actors. 

All talks are free and open to the public:

Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m. at the Stetson Library, 200 Dixwell Avenue, 203-946-8119, with Ficklin and Clifton Graves leading the discussion. 

Monday, May 20, 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison Street, 203-946-8117, with Ficklin and Caplan leading the discussion.

Tuesday, May 28, 6 p.m. at the Wilson Library, 303 Washington Avenue, 203-946-2228, with Caplan leading the discussion.

- Saturday, June 1, 1 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue, 203-946-8115, with Ficklin and Caplan leading the discussion.

Race and real estate collide in the play Clybourne Park. The action begins in 1959 in a Chicago neighborhood when we meet a nervous group of neighbors trying to talk their friends out of selling their home to a black family. Fast forward to the same house fifty years later when a white family attempts to move into the now predominantly African-American neighborhood. The play runs from May 8 through June 2. 

“What is remarkable about Clybourne Park is that there is something we can all learn from,” Ting said. “There is a Clybourne Park in every community and we cannot underestimate that fact.”

“This is a unique opportunity for the NHFPL to marry a major city artistic event to the hyperlocal work we are doing daily in our branches,” said Christopher Korenowsky, city librarian. “We are always seeking innovative ways to increase engagement and conversation amongst the people who live in our city.” 

Library and theatre administrators, through a series of monthly meetings with facilitators hired by CEIO, have been discussing issues of inclusivity, social justice, and conscious co-creation within their own organizations and the city at large, as well as how engagement in literature and theatre can help address these issues. 

 

The partnership has already resulted in two simple, innovative, and successful initiatives – the creation of a microbranch at the theatre stocked with a collection of books based on the themes of the play, and the acreation of a Long Wharf Theatre pass for free tickets available for checkout at every New Haven Free Public Library branch.

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre, visit www.longwharf.org. For more information about the New Haven Free Public Library, visit www.nhfpl.org.

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The ‘Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations’ Project began in April 2012 as a two-year pilot funded by Bill Graustein to increase inclusivity, justice and conscious co-creation in New Haven. Participating organizations, including Long Wharf Theatre and the New Haven Free Public Library, have the opportunity to partner with CEIO and receive training, support and direct funding to assist needed shifts in internal practices and external operations. The project is based on the core belief that organizations in which there is shared power and responsibility are more effective and poised for igniting transformational change. For more information, visit www.ceio.org. 

Long Wharf Theatre (Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director and Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director), in its 48th season, is recognized as a leader in American theatre, producing fresh and imaginative revivals of classics and modern plays, rediscoveries of neglected works and a variety of world and American premieres. More than 30 Long Wharf productions have transferred virtually intact to Broadway or Off-Broadway, some of which include  My Name is Asher Lev, February House, The Glass Menagerie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Wit by Margaret Edson, The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer and The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn. The theatre is an incubator of new works, including Have You Seen Us? by Athol Fugard. Long Wharf Theatre has received New York Drama Critics Awards, Obie Awards, the Margo Jefferson Award for Production of New Works, a Special Citation from the Outer Critics Circle and the Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282. 

The New Haven Free Public Library serves as a resource to provide information, education and recreation to the citizens of New Haven. The public library has three goals.  Building strong neighborhoods.  Ensuring the academic success of every school child.  Helping the city of New Haven become a job generator through a progressive and dynamic job and career center.  The NHFPL consists of five facilities: the Ives Main Library and the Fair Haven, Mitchell, Stetson and Wilson branches. Please visit www.nfhpl.org to learn more about the programs, services, collections and technology that your public library has to offer.

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