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					FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEWS RELEASE Media Contact: Kate McCarthy Brandt 503.241.9807 ext 102, kbrandt@artistsrep.org August 3, 2009

Artists Rep Hosts Workshop of The Hillsboro Story by Susan Banyas
Artists Repertory Theatre is proud to work with dancer-writer Susan Banyas on her latest project, The Hillsboro Story. The play will be developed through rehearsals and creative collaboration at Artists Rep in July and August 2009, culminating in a public performance on August 9. The piece will be developed further throughout the fall and be Artists Rep's entry into PATA’s Fertile Ground Festival of New Works in January 2010. The Hillsboro Story is a performance weaving spoken word, movement, monologues, and visual images, telling the story of the integration of the elementary school in the playwright’s hometown of Hillsboro, Ohio in 1954. The initial workshop and subsequent Fertile Ground production will be directed by Rebecca Engle. Other collaborators include choreographer Gregg Bielemeier and composer David Ornette Cherry. The cast is comprised of local actors LaVerne Green, Paige Jones, Jennifer Lanier, Harold Phillips, and Kenneth Springs. The August 9 workshop performance will begin at 7:30pm on Artists Rep’s Morrison Stage and admission is free. Donations will be accepted to help fund future development of the play. This project has been made possible with grants from: Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Puffin Foundation, Saint Mary’s College of California Faculty Development, and The Kennedy Center. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the oldest professional theater in Portland. Artists Rep strives to challenge artists and audiences with adventurous and provocative plays staged in an intimate environment. The company offers unexpected experiences that expand hearts and minds, feeding Portland’s artistic soul with premieres, re-imagined classics, new play development, education and outreach consistent with the mission of the theater.

The Hillsboro Story – The Playwright’s Statement On July 5, 1954, Lincoln School, the “colored” elementary school near Smokey Row, in Hillsboro, Ohio went up in flames; and my sweet, segregated hometown was suddenly awake. The county engineer, a white man, decided to force integration and struck the match on that hot

summer night that sent him to the state penitentiary (and into the FBI files) and sparked five African American mothers to stage a two-year protest. The “school fight” caught the attention of Thurgood Marshall at NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) headquarters in New York City. Marshall, who led the powerful team of attorneys to the Brown v. Board of Education victory (May 1954), sent one of his chief strategists, Constance Baker Motley, to Ohio to represent the Mothers in the first test case for the Brown decision in the North. I was in the third grade, absorbing the cultural commotion, quickly and quietly thrown into the dump heap of history and reduced to a one-liner. “The Negro women were trouble-makers and the County Engineer was crazy.” Fifty years after seeing the Marching Mothers outside of Mrs. Mallory’s classroom window, I went back to my hometown to find them and piece together a warm-hearted, hard-hitting cultural detective story. The investigation is informed by historical research, photography, and extensive interviews with key players locally and nationally, whose voices form the heart of the story. ***** JUST THE FACTS – THE HILLSBORO STORY The Hillsboro Story: A Workshop Production by Susan Banyas. Directed by Rebecca Engle Performance Dates: Sunday, August 9, 2009, 7:30 pm Location: Artists Repertory Theatre’s Morrison Stage (SW Morrison, between SW 15th & 16th) Tickets: Tickets are free, seating is general admission. Description: The Hillsboro Story is a performance weaving spoken word, movement, monologues, and visual images, telling the story of the integration of the elementary school in the playwright’s hometown of Hillsboro, Ohio in 1954. ###


				
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