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Blumenthal Performing Arts
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Winter 2023
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Community Cue
Free Program Dives deeper into Show Themes
FIDDLER Community Cue -- Viva Klezmer.jpg
The group Viva Klezmer, a Jewish instrumental style with roots in Eastern Europe, performs at a Community Cue event for Fiddler on the Roof.
by Liz Rothaus Bertrand
Blumenthal Performing Arts' new Community Cue program offers a chance for the public to dive into the essence of a show and explore it on a deeper level.
Moderated by local experts, teaching artists or cast, crew and creative team members from a visiting show, this ongoing series of events engages the community in conversation and invites participants to get involved in new ways. “This is your cue to take action,” says Arlethia Hailstock, Blumenthal’s community impact manager, who oversees the program. That “action” can take many different forms: from trying new dance steps at the Community Cue for Ain't Too Proud, to learning about the needs of new refugees in Charlotte and volunteering with a local resettlement agency at Fiddler on the Roof. Events are free and open to the community, but they typically require preregistration. They take place in locations around the city, including community centers, places of worship and schools as well as in Blumenthal venues. As show themes are explored, they also are often put in context for the local community. For example, last spring, Community Cue attendees dived into the musical RENT, looking at the history of the AIDS epidemic and ongoing stigmas placed upon people from the LGBTQ+ community within families, faith organizations and the larger society. The conversation also focused on the lack of affordable housing and displacement in our own community and provided resources for those who wanted to connect with others and get involved in working toward solutions.
A Community Cue event for To Kill a Mockingbird takes place at Julius Chambers High School.
More recently, attendees had the opportunity to engage with To Kill a Mockingbird in two different Community Cue programs. One event at the Mint Museum uptown examined the enduring relevance of this classic novel and how the visual and performing arts can be employed as powerful tools to protest civil rights violations. It featured a panel including artists, a civil rights lawyer and an expert in equity and inclusion. A second event took place at the newly renamed Julius Chambers High School and looked at the intertwined stories and remarkable friendship of two men – Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick, who is Black, and De Kirkpatrick, who is white. Both were students at Myers Park High School in the ’60s and learned decades later of a shocking connection: Jimmie Lee’s ancestors had been enslaved by De’s great-great-grandfather. In high school, Jimmie Lee was also the plaintiff in a racial discrimination case fought and won by legendary civil rights attorney Julius Chambers. The conversation explored their stories and the ways we can continue to fight the legacy of slavery. Finding connections that are local and relevant is a key aspect of the program.
You also can register there for email notifications whenever new events are added.