WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/02/2017) Written by Michael Rouleau
"Thread City," the first Main Stage theatre production of the fall semester at Eastern Connecticut State University, will show from Oct. 11-15. The dialogue-free performance will convey - through actors' movements - the stories of immigrants who came to Willimantic to work in its historic thread mills. All showings will occur in the Proscenium Theatre of the Fine Arts Instructional Center.
In their heyday, Willimantic's thread mills were among the largest producers of textiles in the world. They were major employers in northeastern Connecticut, drawing workers from New England and beyond. Because of their economic dominance, Willimantic was an outlying hotbed of immigration in comparison to the surrounding area. More than a dozen languages were reportedly spoken in the mills in 19th and 20th centuries.
Due to the multicultural theme of "Thread City," it was important to the creators to devise a play that would transcend language. Using "moment work" - a theatrical technique in which individual moments are dissected and explored - actors convey the stories of immigrants without the use of words. But the play is not silent, as soundscapes, music and multimedia projections accompany the actors.
Nearly three years of preparation went into "Thread City," which involved visiting historical sites, researching testimonies of past residents and interviewing current Willimantic residents. The production was co-created by Theatre Professors Kristen Morgan and Alycia Bright Holland in collaboration with many members of the Eastern and Windham communities.
"We hope that the community will feel empowered by seeing their personal narrative celebrated," said Morgan and Bright-Holland. "The message at the heart of the play is that immigrants are part of the bedrock of our community.
"This is different from other productions in that it is a devised work, which means that is not scripted, but conceived by an ensemble of collaborators," they continued. "It's also a community-based production, in that it was not just created for, but with the community."
"Thread City" will be shown in the Proscenium Theatre of the Fine Arts Instructional Center at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 11), Friday (Oct. 13) and Saturday (Oct. 14); at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 12); at 11 a.m. Friday (Oct.13) and 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 15). For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (860) 465-5123. To purchase tickets online, visit http://easternct.showare.com/threadcity/.
About Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern is the state of Connecticut's public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,400 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut's 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 29 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 65 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Eastern has been awarded "Green Campus" status by the Princeton Review seven years in a row. For more information, visit.
It is the policy of Eastern Connecticut State University to ensure equal access to its events. If you are an individual with a disability and will need accommodations for this event, please contact the Office of University Relations at (860) 465-5735.