Uncertainty surrounding the federal government shutdown has prompted the cancellation of Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks!, Pollyanna Theatre Company’s acclaimed production for children and families about the Civil Rights Movement. Originally scheduled to be staged at the LBJ Library Auditorium in mid-February, the play tells the story of a group of fifth grade students who visit a history museum and experience Civil Rights icons that come to life and share their stories.
“Due to the shutdown, the LBJ Library was shuttered when our rehearsals were to begin,” says Judy Matetzschk-Campbell, Pollyanna’s founder and artistic director. “And unfortunately, we can’t plan to stage the play, not knowing if our venue will have to close due to another shutdown.”
Matetzschk-Campbell says the decision was particularly difficult because of the thousands of schoolchildren who have seen the play and been impacted by its powerful message. Austin’s Williams Elementary was just one of many schools that were planning a field trip to see the play.
“Our kids are so disappointed,” says fourth grade teacher Susan Luster. “Last year some of my students were so touched by the performers from the Liberty! play that they cried. They truly had an understanding of Civil Rights or lack thereof.”
Pollyanna anticipates bringing Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! back to the stage next year.