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Events We Shall Not Be Moved

We Shall Not Be Moved

Opera Philadelphia / Daniel Bernard Roumain (composer) Marc Bamuthi Joseph (libretto) Bill T. Jones (director)

Sept 16-24

Runtime TBA

Cost TBA

Wilma TheaterMap

DescriptionAbout the Artists

“They’re increasingly taking chances, offering unusual and new work along with repertory staples, and carving out a place for themselves as proponents of American opera.” The Washington Post

“We are plotting the course through treacherous terrain where musical forms, literary forms, and movement styles collide and, hopefully, fly.” Bill T. Jones of We Shall Not Be Moved

What’s at stake here is America and its future. Who’s invited to participate?

On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philly teens find refuge in an abandoned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and eleven people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance. The group, named the Family Stand, is headed by self-appointed leader Un/Sung, and crosses paths with Glenda, a Philadelphia police officer, whose encounters with the family leads to a standoff that could threaten to repeat history.

A fusion of disciplines and genres, the score of We Shall Not Be Moved blends funk, rock, hip-hop, and classical music into a vital, experiential sonic form. This timely exploration of past and present struggles combines spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility.

Opera Philadelphia will also be hosting several programs surrounding the themes and topics of We Shall Not Be Moved.

We Shall Not Be Moved Opera Overtures
7pm before each performance

Opera ticket holders can warm up for We Shall Not Be Moved with a pre-curtain lecture one hour before each performance. Valerie Gay, Executive Director of Art Sanctuary, provides insights into the themes, music, and production of this new opera. These informal talks will enhance your appreciation of this thought provoking piece which explores Philadelphia’s past and present struggles.

We Shall Not Be Moved Community Conversations
10pm following each performance

Extend your experience with this compelling and evocative work through our Community Conversations series.  Join in a facilitated dialogue surrounding the complex themes of We Shall Not Be Moved immediately following each performance.  On Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, the Community Conversations will be moderated by 2017 Pew Heritage recipient, Brenda Dixon Gottschild.

Lawrence Brownlee Peers Into We Shall Not Be Moved
Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown
Sat, Aug 26 at 7:30pm

Let the Fire Burn Screening and Interview with Ramona Africa
African American Museum in Philadelphia
Sun, Aug 27 at 12:30pm

The Un/Sung Stories of We Shall Not Be Moved
African American Museum in Philadelphia
Sat, Sep 9 at 6:30pm

Unfortunately, We Shall Not Be Moved is not eligible for the FringeArts membership discount. Our apologies.

Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain Libretto Marc Bamuthi Joseph Director, Choreographer, Dramaturg Bill T. Jones Conductor Viswa Subbaraman Assistant Choreographer Raphael Xavier Set Matt Saunders Costumes Liz Prince Lighting Robert Wierzel Projection Design Jorge Cousineau Sound Design Robert Kaplowitz Assistant Director Seth Hoff Performers Lauren Whitehead, Kristin Chávez, John Holiday, Daniel Shirley, Adam Richardson, Aubrey Allicock, Michael Bishop, Duane Lee Holland, Jr., Tendayi Kuumba, Caci Cole Pritchett

Co-commissioned and co-produced by Opera Philadelphia, The Apollo Theater, and Hackney Empire. Developed in partnership with Art Sanctuary.

Major support for We Shall Not Be Moved has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Additional support is provided by William Penn Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.

Festival Producer Robert M. Dever Festival Producers Arthur Kaplan & R. Duane Perry Festival Co-Producers Bill & Joyce Kunkle, Sissie & Herb Lipton, Andrew & Bryna Scott

Photos: Dominic M. Mercier (above), Dave DiRentis (below).

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About Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. The company’s mission is to deliver outstanding productions of traditional and new repertoire that engage the public and propel opera forward, identify extraordinary artists,  established and emerging, and provide opportunities for them to create their most imaginative and inspired work, and to present innovative programming relevant to the multi-cultural Philadelphia region that broadens the opera audience.

About Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whoe collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.

About Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

About Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones, a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer, has received major honors ranging from the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Visibility Award, 2013 National Medal of Arts to a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award and Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. Mr. Jones was honored with the 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, recognized as Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2010, inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000.

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