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Southern Rep Hosts Free 'Play Dates'

Fresh off of their critically-acclaimed production of "Sweet Bird of Youth," Southern Rep Theatre announced on Monday (4.17) a new project with the Community Book Center. The collaboration will showcase a series of performance art and education activities for free to benefit local children. 


"Southern Rep Theatre believes the arts and empowerment need to be part of the education conversation from kindergarten on," said the theatre's Producing Artistic Director Aimée Hayes. The launch of the series, called Play Dates, "mixes play with stories and art," said Hayes. 


On Saturday (4.22), Southern Rep will kick off the first of the Play Dates series with a free community book reading with the Center, dubbed "What Does Freedom Look Like?" The theatre company will bring stories about emancipation, the Underground Railroad, and more tales from New Orleans past at the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Rd.). The event will encourage children to depict what freedom looks like, through written or visual renderings. Scholarly conversations will be offered for the parents, while food from Black Swan Catering will also be on hand. 


Further events in the spring/summer series further develop the idea of freedom, what is sounds like, and how to recognize it. On June 17th, the series will close with a Juneteenth Celebation at Loyola's Palm Court. "This event is especially valuable because children are encouraged to articulate for themselves the meaning of freedom," explained Lauren E. Turner, Southern Rep's Producer of Artistic and Community Engagement. 


The Play Dates program will also overlap with Southern Rep's newest production, "Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3," which will debut on May 31st at the theatre. The full Play Dates schedule below:


What is Freedom? 

Community artists share stories of emancipation

Saturday (4.22), 12PM

Community Book Center, 2523 Bayou Rd.


What does Freedom Sound Like?

Participatory music workshop

Saturday (5.20), 7PM

Junk Masters, 2563 Bayou Rd.


How Do You Know When You are Free?

Time Line Art Making Workshop

Saturday (6.3), 1PM

Le Musee de F.P.C., 2336 Esplanade Ave.


Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday (6.17) 6:30PM

Palm Court, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Ave.


Erin Rose
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