TFAC presents We Are the Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Published 2:04 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr and his dream of peaceful unity and racial equality will be honored as actors and singers take the stage at Tryon Fine Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m., one of two performances.

TFAC has partnered with the Thermal Belt Friendship Council to present We Are the Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as a portion of their commitment to Arts in Education and as community outreach, providing the opportunity for adults and children to learn about one of the countrys great leaders through the dramatic arts. &bsp;

A large percentage of the cast is made up of students from North and South Carolina.&bsp; Elementary, middle and high school students from Chapman, Landrum, Polk County, charter schools and home schools are working together to tell this story of the man who led our nation through a difficult time in its history.

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Although Kings leadership in the civil rights movement is well-known, some of the hardships he suffered personally are not always fully realized when studying American history. The play dramatizes many of the dangerous circumstances King found himself in as a result of his commitment to non-violent protest of segregation in the 1950s and 1960s.

Home-schooled student Luke Umphlett said, Participating in this musical has taught me about segregation and the fight for freedom and that in addition to MLK and Rosa Parks, there were other important people who stood up for their rights, such as Vivian Jones, Joseph McNeill and Coretta Scott King. I also learned that even children were attacked and harmed because they were marching for their freedom.”

Polk County Middle School student Hannah Brown said, It must have been hard for Martin to be the person who stood up for African Americans. We wouldnt be where we are today without what he did. &bsp;

Students said they are excited about what theyre presenting to the public.

Ryan Fox, playing Martin as a child, said he likes to be onstage, but is worried about opening night.

Tamieea Brown, 13 years old, said she has discovered that to be an effective actor you have to be serious. Her sister added, You have to be in character.

This production is also encouraging young people to participate in theater from a backstage viewpoint. Student volunteers work with TFAC Technical Director Jimm Brink preparing lights, projection equipment and special effects that are part of this event.

Backstage is busy with teenagers helping to get sets and props where they need to be to have the show run smoothly. &bsp;

From a different perspective, Sara Seagle, a junior at PCHS, can be found at the helm of the sound board developing and running the sound supporting the story.

Sara said, It’s always a joy to help out with productions at Tryon Fine Arts Center. Arts in Education is a great way to reach out to all types of people in the community by integrating the arts into everyday life.

We Are the Dream, a 45-minute play with music, will be presented on Tryon Fine Arts Centers Veh Stage Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.

Partial sponsorship is provided by the Kirby Fund at Polk County Community Foundation. Admission is free. For more information, contact Marianne Carruth at TFAC: 828-859-8322 or email