Alliance Theatre to Premiere Natasha Trethewey's NATIVE GUARD, 9/26-10/19

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Alliance Theatre to Premiere Natasha Trethewey's NATIVE GUARD, 9/26-10/19

The Alliance Theatre has announced the world premiere of NATIVE GUARD. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey's NATIVE GUARD will be brought to the stage with actors, music, imagery, and visual art in a complete theatrical staging. NATIVE GUARD will open the Hertz Stage season at the Alliance Theatre September 26 - October 19, 2014. Opening night is Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

NATIVE GUARD juxtaposes the deeply personal experiences of Trethewey, a child of a then-illegal marriage between her black mother and white father living in 1960s Mississippi, with the experience of a soldier in the Native Guard, the first African-American Union troop in the Civil War, who was charged with guarding white Confederate captives. Years after her mother's tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.

"NATIVE GUARD is nothing less than memory made real, visceral and breathtakingly present," said Susan V. Booth, Director and Alliance Theatre's Jennings Hertz Artistic Director. "At its best, theatre leaves us bigger, better and fuller than we were when we stepped across its threshold; Natasha Trethewey's poetry does that in ways that reach straight into the reader's DNA. What we're aiming to do is not bend her poetry to our art form, but to bend our art form to best serve her poetry."

The Alliance's world premiere of NATIVE GUARD blends various art forms to fully engage audiences -- from a visual installation instead of a set to performance elements that allow the audience to interact and tell their own stories. NATIVE GUARD intends to expand the traditional definition of theatre while exploring themes of history, identity, memory, and loss.

In the second act of NATIVE GUARD audience members will be invited to participate in a discussion about the play they have just experienced, giving voice to their thoughts in the same space that just inspired them. Audience members will enter into a dialogue with people, who just an hour ago, were strangers - until they sat together in a theatre. Each night will be hosted by a different community leader. Each leader will begin by sharing his or her own thoughts on the work before inviting others into open discussion. Hosts include Lois Reitzes (Radio Personality, WABE), Camille Love (Executive Director, Office of Cultural Affairs), Carlton Mackey (Chair, Emory Ethics and Arts Program), and more. The schedule of hosts is below.

NATIVE GUARD will feature actors Thomas Neal Antwon Ghant (Alliance: A Christmas Carol) as Man and January LaVoy (Alliance: What I Learned in Paris) as Woman. Original music will be provided by vocalist Nicole Banks Long (Alliance: Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel) and composer Tyrone Jackson.

The creative team includes installation artist Anne Patterson (Graced With Light, 2013), Costume Designer Leslie Taylor (Georgia Shakespeare: The Tempest), and LX Designer Ken Yunker (Alliance: The Geller Girls).

The Alliance's production of NATIVE GUARD is part of the National Civil War Project, an initiative between theatres and universities across the country to create new theatrical works commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. NATIVE GUARD was developed with support from the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Performances of NATIVE GUARD are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, September 26 - October 19, 2014. Opening Night is October 1, 7:30 pm. There will be no 2:30 pm performance on September 27 and no 7:30 pm performance on October 19.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404.733.5000. Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheare.org/nativeguard. Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690. Discounted rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students. The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street, in Midtown.

NATIVE GUARD ACT II HOSTS

Friday, September 26, 8:00 pm ---------- Scott Turner Schofield, Artist/Writer/Performer - Emory University's 2014 LGBTQ Person of the Year

Saturday, September 27, 8:00 pm ------- Ayoka Chenzira, Film and Video Artist

Sunday, September 28, 2:30 pm ---------Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., Director, Emory Center for Ethics

Sunday, September 28, 7:30 pm --------- Dr. Linda M. Johnston, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Siegel Institute for leadership, Ethics & Character at Kennesaw State University

Tuesday, September 30, 7:30 pm ------- Freddie Ashley, Artistic Director, Actor's Express

Wednesday, October 1, 7:30 pm -------- Natasha Trethewey, Poet

Thursday, October 2, 7:30 pm ----------- Sonya Halpern, Board Chair, National Black Arts Festival

Friday, October 3, 8:00 pm --------------- Camille Russell Love, Executive Director, Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs

Saturday, October 4, 2:30 pm ------------Doug Shipman, CEO for Civil and Human Rights

Saturday, October 4, 8:00 pm ------------Lois Reitzes, Radio Personality, WABE

Sunday, October 5, 2:30 pm --------------Chris Snell, Public Library Director, Fayette County Public Library

Sunday, October 5, 7:30 pm --------------TBD

Tuesday, October 7, 7:30 pm -------------TBD

Wednesday, October 8, 7:30 pm -------- TBD

Thursday, October 9, 7:30 pm ------------Carlton Mackey, Chair, Ethics and Arts Initiative, Emory Center for Ethics

Friday, October 10, 8:00 pm --------------TBD

Saturday, October 11, 2:30 pm ---------- Paula Larke, Artist

Saturday, October 11, 8:00 pm ---------- Anthony Knight, Museum Consultant

Sunday, October 12, 2:30 pm ------------ Justice Leah Ward Sears, Former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Alliance Theatre Advisory Board

Sunday, October 12, 7:30 pm -------------Rick Goerss, Former VP & Corporate Regulatory Counsel, Equifax, Alliance Board of Directors

Tuesday, October 14, 7:30 pm ------------TBD

Wednesday, October 15, 7:30 pm ------- J. Veronica Biggins, Former Managing Partner of Diversity and Senior Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, Alliance Board of Directors

Thursday, October 16, 7:30 pm ---------- TBD

Friday, October 17, 8:00 pm --------------Pearl McHaney, Associate Dean, Fine Arts, and Professor, Department of English at Georgia State University

Saturday, October 18, 2:30 pm ---------- Michael Molina, Spoken Word Artist

Saturday, October 18, 8:00 pm ---------- TBD

Sunday, October 19, 2:30 pm ------------ TBD

About the Alliance Theatre - Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre has become the leading producing theatre in the Southeast, creating the powerful experience of shared theatre for diverse people. The Alliance values excellence, pursued with integrity and creativity, and achieved through collaboration. Reaching more than 200,000 patrons annually, the Alliance delivers powerful programming that challenges adult and youth audiences to think critically and care deeply. Under the leadership of Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, the Alliance Theatre received the Regional Theatre Tony Award in recognition of sustained excellence in programming, education and community engagement.

Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 80 original productions including Tony Award winners The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, Aida, by Elton John and Tim Rice, and Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. The Alliance has a reputation for developing important American musicals with a strong track record of Broadway, touring, and subsequent productions, including the world premieres of Sister Act: The Musical, Come Fly Away, Bring It On: The Musical, Stephen King and John Mellencamp's Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the American premiere of Zorro, with music by the Gipsy Kings, and most recently, Harmony -- A New Musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. The Alliance also creates and nurtures the careers of playwrights through the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, producing a premiere for the competition winner as part of the regular season with national networking opportunities for four finalists. The works produced by the Alliance allow locally based artists the chance to create on a nationally watched stage, building and sustaining Atlanta's artistic community.

Each year, the Alliance Theatre Acting Program and Education Department reaches close to 50,000 students through performances, acting classes, drama camps, and in-school initiatives. The Alliance creates and produces plays for young audiences at every age level: from the Collision Project, where high school artists create and perform new work based on a classic text, to the ground breaking Theatre for the Very Young, creating interactive shows for infants and toddlers. The Alliance also offers community education classes for all ages and abilities of theatre interest; and adult student productions of unproduced plays in development, working with local and national playwrights.

An active participant in Georgia classrooms, the Alliance has developed programs using theatrical techniques to aid in student learning through storytelling and problem solving. The Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists equips teachers with theatrical techniques that link directly to school curriculum, align with Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, and increase student learning. Other programs include Georgia Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts, a nationally recognized professional learning program that focuses on literacy skills for children in Pre-K -- 2nd Grade, and Dramaturgy K-12, a unique program that empowers students to create research material that both informs Alliance productions and prepares peer audiences. Twice recognized by the Federal Department of Education as leaders in the field of arts education, these programs reflect the Alliance's commitment to city wide arts access.

The Alliance continuously delivers the finest talent, art and educational opportunities for Atlanta audiences -- proving once again that the Alliance is where great theatre lives. www.alliancetheatre.org or 404.733.5000

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