‘The Integration of Tuskegee High School: Lee v. Macon County Board of Education’ opens April 14 at Auburn University

Published: April 14, 2016
Updated: April 15, 2016
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Auburn University Theatre opens its last production of 2015-16 with a historical and controversial memory narrative, "The Integration of Tuskegee High School: Lee v. Macon County Board of Education," April 14-24 in the new Black Box Theatre in the Telfair B. Peet Theatre building.

Told from compelling first person accounts, "The Integration of Tuskegee High School" examines the events leading up to Sept. 2, 1963, when Alabama Gov. George Wallace blocked the federal mandate to integrate the school by surrounding it with state troopers. Dramatized in documentary style, this live performance includes historic multimedia images, a soundscape of Civil Rights era music and the unforgettable voices of the people who rode bus No. 12 that day, as well as those who were waiting for the bus to arrive.

"This project grew out of a collaboration with Dr. Mark Wilson and the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities," said Assistant Professor Tessa Carr, writer and director.

Wilson and Robin Sabino, director of the Africana Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts, and students conducted interviews in 2013 during the 50th anniversary of the event, with Tuskegee community members who were involved in the desegregation of Tuskegee Public High School.

"Dr. Wilson asked me to take a look at the transcripts of the interviews, to see if I thought there would be a play in the material," said Carr. "Upon reading the transcripts and listening to the audio files, of which there were more than 40 hours-worth of documentation, I was immediately struck by the passion that people felt about this event – passion that was evident 50 years on. There was a conversation that needed to happen between these voices – a conversation that Gov. Wallace’s intervention had not allowed to happen. This adaptation brings that conversation to life, along with additional voices for historical context and detail. I think it is a conversation that is as relevant today as it was 53 years ago."

The artistic team for "The Integration of Tuskegee High School" includes direction by Carr, dramaturgy by College of Liberal Arts alumnus Richard Trammell and members of the Mosaic Theatre Company, lighting design by Fereshteh Rostampour, scenic design by Robin Jaffe and student sound design by Cheyenne Dalton.

The cast consists of Auburn University students Nora Brown, London Carlisle, Ian Downes, Alec Giommalvo, Jared Haley, Sonja Humphries, Staci Jacobson, Teyonna Johnson, Christopher Jones, Jordan Kelley, Kat McKenna, Brandon Pickett, Daphney Portis, Emily Prim, Dylan Renfrow, Aariyan Tooley, Blake Willoughby, Jackson Whiting and Brian Young.

To purchase tickets to this performance, visit www.auburnuniversitytheatre.org or call the box office at 334-844-4154. To be included on the mailing list for future productions, email theatre@auburn.edu.