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Race. It's a subject that permeates the American consciousness, that finds its way into the news just about every day - and is virtually absent from the national dialogue. Few people, it seems, want to talk about race because it's such a fraught and delicate topic.

But Palm Beach Dramaworks is taking the plunge on April 12 at 2pm, inspired by August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning playFences, which the company is performing from March 29 through April 21. Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, a man denied a shot at the major leagues because of the color of his skin, whose bitterness fractures family relationships and thwarts dreams. The play opens in 1957, during the very early stages of the civil rights movement, and explores, among other themes, the evolving black experience and race relations in America - issues that could not be more timely.

"Fences: A Dialogue About Race Then and Now" will take a look back at race relations in the mid-twentieth century and examine the distance we've traveled, how far we need to go, and the part each of us can play in creating more awareness and understanding. The conversation will be led by Barbara Cheives, president of Converge & Associates Consulting, Inc.The event will also feature members of the cast of Fences, who will share personal stories.

Tickets for the event are free, but seating is limited and must be reserved in advance. Please contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit

Barbara Cheives is president of Converge & Associates Consulting, which specializes in race and ethnic relations consulting, community and civic engagement, and cultural competency/sensitivity training. Barbara's consulting expertise includes law enforcement and public safety, media, education, non-profits, and corporations. She served as the first executive director of Toward A More Perfect Union in Palm Beach County, a non-profit initiative addressing the critical impact of race and ethnicity in a diverse community. She has also planned and executed county-wide community engagement and community dialogue projects with difficult to reach communities for the Palm Health Foundation, Children's Home Society, and Community Partners of Palm Beach County, and statewide for the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

A Native New Yorker who has lived in West Palm Beach for 25 years, Barbara serves on the National Board of the Institute of Community Peace in Washington, DC, and is a past chair of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission. She is a past president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. West Palm Beach Chapter, and the co-chair of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry. Barbara is an alumna of Leadership Palm Beach County, class of 2002.

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit

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