To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Pollyanna Theatre, resident theatre company of the Long Center, is partnering with the LBJ Library on a special production for children: Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! by Gregory S. Perrin opening October 11 – 19 at the Long Center, 701 West Riverside Drive, Austin.

The original play was commissioned specifically for the young people of Austin. Best suited for mid- to upper-elementary school children and their families, Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! is a theatrical exploration of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Perrin is passionate about the project. “History is important, but many of our children feel that it is boring because it has nothing to do with them. My goal is that the children seeing this play will leave with questions about what they have seen, which hopefully will lead to conversations with parents, grandparents, teachers and friends. These conversations – some may be difficult or unpleasant – need to happen.”

The LBJ Library’s education department is partnering with Pollyanna Theatre in creating educational resources that will be available online and in print to accompany the play.

The action of Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! is set in a history museum, where the play’s characters (a group of 4th grade students) experience key elements of our national history when iconic images from that period come to life. These characters entertain, enlighten and take the children on a fascinating journey through history.

Judy Matetzschk-Campbell, founder and artistic director of Pollyanna Theatre Company feels strongly about commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “This was a critical turning point in our nation’s history. It is so important for children to understand the movement, especially in light of what’s happening in today’s world. There is still much work to be done.”

Amanda Melancon, education specialist at LBJ Library, says “We are thrilled to partner with Pollyanna Theatre Company. We have outstanding educational resources on the Civil Rights movement: from photos and films to historical documents. We host thousands of children each year through our exhibits and activities, and to be a part of a theatrical version of this story is yet another way to engage future generations.”

Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! runs October 11-19 at the Rollins Studio Theatre at The Long Center for the Performing Arts.

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