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RUSTBELT:1984 Gets Staged Reading at Fifth Wall Theatre

In theatre, we often see the physical world thrown out of balance. RUSTBELT:1984, written by Damon W. Arrington (Broadway Assistant Director, Award Winning Off Broadway Director/Producer) and being presented as a staged reading by Fifth Wall Theatre at Richmond's historic Hofheimer Building, is no exception.

RUSTBELT: 1984 is the first installation in a series of three plays using the visceral world of the theatre to shake up social consciousness regarding water quality and policy. This is not a dry night of statistics, but rather a satirical tale told through theatre, multi-media, music, and dance with the intent to encourage dialogue about water quality.

RUSTBELT: 1984 centers around a public access TV dance show that was filmed in the heart of America's defunct industrial heartland in 1984. When the show's MC Willy Wonder (played by Ashton Lee) gets sick from the town's water, Mayor Alberts (Foster Solomon) struggles to manage the fallout. When the mayor's assistant, Shelia Withers (Donna Marie Miller), rises to the role of an unlikely heroine, the EPA (Susan Gardner) steps in to the fray.

Archetypes and anti-heroes wrestle with ideals, policy, community and corruption in this staged reading directed by Carol Piersol. This work hopes to give voice to those in America living with inadequate drinking water, which disrupts a sense of place and shatters communities. Given a voice, recognition could invoke quite a collective pause for artist and audience. We hope to start to create a space for these pauses. Pre-show discussion roots the play in the national and personal context of water contamination; more satire is to follow post-show, when two of Richmond's burlesque starlets (led by Miss Melody Magpie) deliver water inspired performances to transition the environment into a place of conversation and community building... with a blush of debauchery.

RUSTBELT:1984 will be performed at The Hofheimer Building, 2818 W. Broad Street, RVA on Friday, May 26th, 2017. Doors open at 7:00pm, with a pre-show discussion at 7:30, and the staged reading beginning promptly at 8:00pm. Tickets are $12 General Admission (5th Wall Season Subscribers- $10). Visit for tickets. For more information, go to

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