New Historic Play CATO AND DOLLY Premieres At Boston's Old State House

New Historic Play CATO AND DOLLY Premieres At Boston's Old State HouseThe Bostonian Society announces the world premiere of Cato and Dolly, an all-new live play by Playwright Patrick Gabridge at Boston's historic Old State House, running Friday, July 6 - September 29, 2018. The new play, commissioned specifically for the Old State House's Through the Keyhole exhibition, reveals life behind the door of the Hancock House, Governor John Hancock's 18th century Beacon Hill home. In addition to viewing the historic door itself, on public view for the first time in decades, visitors to Through the Keyhole will experience the new 20-minute play which offers a glimpse of everyday life behind the Hancock door through the eyes of those who lived there: Cato Hancock, an enslaved person in the Hancock household and Dolly Hancock, John Hancock's wife and First Lady of Massachusetts. Gabridge's powerful site-specific play at the Old State House, Blood On The Snow, had a sold-out run in 2016-2017 and was called "electric and alive" by WGBH's Jared Bowen.

Cato & Dolly premieres on Friday, July 6, 2018 at the Old State House and will run for 9 performances per week Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 2 pm through September 29, 2018. The play is included in the price of admission to Through the Keyhole at the Old State House, 206 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02109. For more information see or call 617-720-1713.

"The play Cato & Dolly will help visitors experience a different meaning behind the Hancock House door, giving life to the real people who lived at the dawn of the American Revolution," said Nathaniel Sheidley, Executive Director of the Bostonian Society. "The Through the Keyhole exhibition offers us an opportunity to understand the stories of those who passed through the Hancock House door - some, like John Hancock, whose lives are steeped in mythology, and those whose voices haven't yet been heard. We are thrilled to work with Playwright Patrick Gabridge again to pull back the curtain on these real-life individuals, using theater to build a bridge between modern audiences and history."

Playwright Patrick Gabridge is an award-winning writer of stage plays, novels, audio plays, and screenplays. His short plays have been produced more 1,000 times in theatres and schools in 14 different countries around the world. Gabridge's site-specific play Bood on the Snow was commissioned in 2016 by the Bostonian Society to dramatize the aftermath of the Boston Massacre, one of the most formative events in the American Revolution. Gabridge's work took audiences into the minds of Boston's leaders as they made the decision to place Massachusetts on the road to revolution. Blood on the Snow was staged in the Council Chamber of the Old State House (the very room where it happened), receiving rave reviews from critics and ran to sold-out audiences in both 2016 and 2017.

In Cato & Dolly Gabridge gives life to Cato and Dolly Hancock, as well as other Revolutionary-era figures whose lives intersected at the famous Hancock House over the course of 50 years from 1764-1816. The play follows these real-life individuals through some of early America's most pivotal events, giving new perspective to the American narrative. Two actors will inhabit the show's multiple characters, taking us through the threshold into never-before-seen drama unfolding behind the door.

"I'm thrilled to be working at the Old State House again on another play, this time exploring ideas around whose voices are told when it comes to historical narrative" said Gabridge. "With Blood on the Snow, the drama was tied to a specific event in the Old State House's Council Chamber where historic decisions took place 250 years ago. In Cato & Dolly, the touchstone is the door from the Hancock House, but we are invited along on a journey across time periods and through multiple, often poignant, narratives. Cato & Dolly touches on many different issues from the role of women and enslaved people in Colonial America, to loss, and freedom. I hope audiences will come to know Cato and Dolly as living, breathing people, and are inspired to think about how their own lives play a role in our ongoing American story."

Cato & Dolly will feature Boston-based actors Stephen Sampson and Felton Sparks as "Cato," and Margaret Clark, Marge Dunn and Becca Lewis as "Dolly." Elliot Norton Award winner Courtney O'Connor will direct the play/

The Through the Keyhole exhibit at the Old State House will run from June 20 - December 28, 2018, exploring how the objects we preserve shape the stories we remember. The exhibit centers around the front door of the Hancock House, newly set in a meticulous recreation of its original surrounding entryway crafted by students from the Preservation Carpentry program at North Bennet Street School. The exhibit will also feature additional items from The Bostonian Society's collection including the Hancock family bible, Dolly Hancock's quilt, and wooden mementos made from the timbers of the original Hancock House. The demolition of the Hancock House in 1863 caused a massive public outcry and launched a preservation movement in New England that saved countless buildings and artifacts from destruction. The twelve-panel door that served as the Hancock House's entryway for 126 years became part of the Bostonian Society collection in 1899.

Enhanced by specialized tours, original programming, and community events, Through the Keyhole presents the Hancock House door as a gateway for visitors to re-examine the national narrative and challenge visitors to think about the objects we preserve, and how they form our perceptions of who we are as Americans.

Cato & Dolly premieres on Friday, July 6th and will run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 11am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm through September 29, 2018. The play is included in the price of admission to Through the Keyhole at the Old State House, 206 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02109. Open 7 days a week from 9-5; from Memorial Day through Labor Day open 9-6. All daytime

Through the Keyhole programming is included with admission.

Adults $10.00, discounts apply for seniors and students. Youth ages 6-18, Massachusetts Teachers, EBT Cardholders, US Military and Veterans are admitted free. Located on the MBTA Blue/Orange line to State Street. For more information see or call 617-720-1713.

The Old State House museum collection includes objects related to the Old State House and the history of Boston from prehistory to the present day. The object collection includes items related to John and Dorothy Hancock, the maritime history of Boston, firefighting from the 18th through 21st century, furniture, prints, textiles, and household items. The Old State House, the oldest surviving public building in Boston, was built in 1713 to house the government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As the center of civic, political, and business life, the Old State House was a natural meeting place for the exchange of economic and local news making it the epi-center of events that sparked the American Revolution from the Boston Massacre to the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 18, 1776. The Boston National Historic Sites Commission called the Old State House "the most important public building in American history prior to the Declaration of Independence." The Bostonian Society has been the caretaker of the Old State House since 1881, when it was established to rescue the building from demolition and preserve it on-site.

Established in 1881, the nonprofit Bostonian Society is dedicated to studying and preserving Boston's uniquely important history, embodied in materials, records, and structures such as the Old State House, and in sharing an understanding of the revolutionary ideas born here. The Society's staff interprets the Revolutionary-era history of Boston for future generations every day in the museum. In addition, the Bostonian Society maintains a research library and a collection of over 6,000 objects, 7,500 books, 350 maps, and over 30,000 photographs. The collections of the Bostonian Society are accessible to researchers, students, and members of the public at and in person.

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