Clarksdale theater production explores civil rights history

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Aallyah Wright, Mississippi Today

Kerry Lee (left, portraying Dr. Aaron E. Henry), Nicholas Houston (sitting, as Nick Norphlet), and Tarra Slack (as Vera Mae Pigee) practicing their scene recalling events after Medgar Evers’ funeral.

 

State residents this weekend will have an opportunity to view and participate in a unique form of journalism through a theater production developed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The play “Beautiful Agitators” will debut at Crossroads Cultural Arts Center in downtown Clarksdale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The original play about the life and legacy of local civil rights activist Vera Mae Pigee also will include a look at the current state of political activism in the Delta.

Each performance will be followed by a discussion involving the audience, the cast and crew and local journalists about the legacy of the civil rights movement in the Delta. Tickets are free, and can be reserved here.

Aallyah Wright, Mississippi Today

Tarra Slack (left, as Vera Mae Pigee), Brian James (as Paul Pigee), and Jessica James (as Mary Jane Pigee) rehearsing their opening scene at the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center in downtown Clarksdale.

The production is being presented as part of StoryWorks, a theater-meets-journalism initiative by The Center for Investigative Reporting, now in its fourth season of performances. StoryWorks commissions playwrights to create immediate artistic responses to original investigative stories and the issues at their core.

Mississippi Today is a co-sponsor of the event. Its editors and reporter Aallyah Wright, based in Clarksdale, helped develop the story line for the production.

More information on the play is available in the link below from Reveal:

Journalists explore Mississippi’s civil rights legacy through theater