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Clarence Brown Theatre Recommended for NEA Art Works Award for ALABAMA STORY


Clarence Brown Theatre Recommended for NEA Art Works Award for ALABAMA STORY The Clarence Brown Theatre has been recommended for a prestigious $15,000 "Art Works" award from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of the Southeast Premier of Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones running now through February 18th.

"This is a story that needs to be told now," said managing director Tom Cervone. "Actually, those exact words, 'tell me a story,' is a familiar refrain within the piece. And with the generous support of the NEA Arts Works grant, for which we are incredibly grateful, we are able to do precisely that. Although set in the Deep South of 1959, the words, the circumstances, and, believe it or not, the notion of censorship, remains part of the conversation in 2018. It is our duty and our responsibility to tell this story."

The play focuses on the censorship of a gentle children's book which stirs the passions of a segregationist senator and a no-nonsense state librarian in 1959 Montgomery, just as the Civil Rights Movement is flowering. Inspired by true events, Alabama Story puts politicians, star-crossed childhood friends, and one feisty author in a struggle for the soul of the Deep South.

In addition to the public performances, engagement events with playwright Kenneth Jones and partners such as the Knox County Public Library and the YWCA, aim to reach out to the Greater Knoxville and East Tennessee communities in dialogue on issues of civil rights, women's rights, racism, and censorship. More information on upcoming events and performance dates are available at

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

The Art Works category is the NEA's largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

"It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the University of Tennessee's Clarence Brown Theatre, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring."

With a dual mission to train the next generation of theatre artists and to provide top quality professional theatre, the Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is one of only 13 academic LORT (League of Resident Theatre) institutions in the nation. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Calvin MacLean and Managing Director Tom Cervone, the CBT season runs from August through May and features eight productions ranging from musicals to drama.

The CBT provides a cultural resource for both the university and the larger East Tennessee community and affirms diversity and inclusivity in all their forms.

The 2017/2018 remaining season productions include: Alabama Story, the strangers, The Dream of the Burning Boy, and Urinetown. For more information or tickets, call the CBT Box Office at 865-974-5161 or visit us online at Stay connected to the Clarence Brown Theatre on Facebook (Clarence Brown Theatre), follow us on Twitter (@ClarenceBrown) and view Clarence Brown videos on YouTube (Clarence Bro).

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