Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown is staging a new play exploring Middletown’s Black History in the 1800’s . The production, Renewal: The Beman Project, will run June 2 and 3 at 7 pm at Oddfellows, and Sunday June 4 at 5 pm at Cross Street AME Zion Church.
Renewal was commissioned by Oddfellows to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Cross Street Church by investigating the Beman family, the Abolitionist Movement, and other less-known aspects of 19th century Black History in Middletown. The play begins in 2023. Three close friends have to do their final research presentation as middle schoolers on the significance behind the renaming of Woodrow Wilson to Beman Middle School. As they set out to find facts to support the legacy of the Bemans, they find themselves at the harbor in Middletown in 1830. This story follows their journey as they encounter some prominent figures, a lot of water, captivity, and inevitable evolution.
Written and directed by New Haven-based theater maker Jacqueline Brown, Renewal features scenic design by Amanda “Semente” Pereira , costume design by Carol Koumbaros, lighting design by Hilary Lang, sound design by Trey Moore, and properties design by Caleb Warner.
Performances will be at 7pm on June 2 and 3 at Oddfellows Playhouse, which is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. The Sunday performance at Cross Street Church, 440 West Street, is at 5 pm. Tickets for the Oddfellows performances are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Admission is free for the Sunday performance at Cross Street Church. Tickets may be purchased at www.oddfellows.org or by emailing email@example.com or calling (860) 347-6143.
Renewal: The Beman Project is made possible with generous grants from the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the City of Middletown Community Engagement Grant, and the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation. Additional support comes from the Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; The Fund for Greater Hartford; Liberty Bank Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund; Middlesex United Way; CT Humanities Cultural Fund; New England Foundation for the Arts New England Arts Resilience Fund; Middlesex United Way; and many generous individual donors.