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Mudlark Theater, with writers Kenya Hall and Dru Smith, and its community partners are collaborating on a new play that will follow the lives of students during the desegregation of Evanston public schools, The Foster School Project. Specifically, it will chronicle the loss of Foster School, the district's only all-black school, which was closed in 1976. The loss of this community cornerstone impacted the life of the neighborhood in ways that residents are still grappling with today. In bringing history to life, the play will ask difficult questions about our society today-and whether our nation's public schools are any closer to racial equity now than they were then.
To conduct research for the show, Mudlark is partnering with Shorefront, a historical center that chronicles the black experience on Chicago's North Shore. Our writers will explore Shorefront's archives and conduct interviews with former Foster School students, parents, and teachers. The majority-black cast will combine youth actors from Mudlark and The Art of Evolution, a local theater company and enrichment program for children of color. We are seeking adult actors of color to play teachers and parents.
ABOUT MUDLARK & OUR PROCESS: Mudlark Theater is a not-for-profit organization where children are taken seriously as artists and learn theater by making it. As a rule, the general public expects little of children in theater. Mudlark's goal is to raise that expectation. By holding children to a higher standard and empowering them to make strong artistic choices, we create the possibility for great theater-vibrant, funny, compelling shows that erase the boundary between youth and professional theater.
Our rehearsals blend fun and work. A typical rehearsal starts and ends with warm-ups and games that build acting and ensemble skills. We value both the social and artistic experience of theater-making. Our approach to directing youth actors is heavily in-the-room focused; we find the most effective way for their characters and ultimately the play to take shape is through immediate feedback, repetition, and side coaching from our directors.
TEACHER/PRINCIPAL - African American. Male Identifying. Late 20's to late 30's. A joyful presence in the school. Has great relationships with all of his students and is well respected by students and the community. Playful, but doesn't mess around when it comes to the rules.
MOM - African American. Female Identifying. 20's. Loyal, aware and wants the best for her daughter. She knows that things aren't good regarding the desegregation process of her school district, but lacks the resources to do much about it on her own. Communicative with her daughter of what's happening and wants her to understand what it will be like to suddenly go to school with white students.
(Please note: the script is currently in development and will be completed by the time rehearsals begin, with some changes being made throughout the early part of the rehearsal process.)
Auditions will be held at Mudlark HQ, 1417 Hinman Ave in Evanston. We are located near the Purple line and Metra.
Rehearsal Schedule: Show will rehearse either T/Th/Sat or M/W/F in Evanston. Weekday rehearsals typically run between 4:30-7:00pm and Saturday rehearsals take place during the 10am-2pm window, for 2-3 hours. Adult actors will not always be called to every rehearsal.
Rehearsal Start: September 2019 (breaks over Thanksgiving and December holidays)
Tech: January 17th – January 22nd, 2020
Performances: January 23rd – February 9th
Material To Prepare:
Sides will be sent.