The National Civil War Project
2012/13

The A.R.T. and Harvard University are proud to announce our participation in The National Civil War Project, an ambitious multi-city, multi-year collaboration of four universities and five performing arts organizations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which launched on February 28, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Inspired by noted choreographer Liz Lerman, The National Civil War Project will include the commissioning of original theatrical works as well as the creation of new arts-integrated academic programs. 

The National Civil War Project crosses traditional boundaries by uniting a range of academic and artistic perspectives through a unique partnership of universities and theaters, including: Alliance Theatre and Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; American Repertory Theater and Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; Arena Stage and the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; and CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore, MD and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.
 

The centerpiece of The National Civil War Project will be the commissioning and development of new theatrical works, drawing on the theme of civil conflict and the American Civil War. The organizations will convene leading experts for national conferences and symposia, and produce public discussion series, community programs and dramaturgy, student playwriting projects, student-generated exhibitions, and artist and academic roundtables.

Harvard University President Drew Faust commented: "The arts invite a shift in perception and understanding that is at the heart of all learning. Projects that elevate the profile of the arts and art making enrich campus communities and encourage imagination and innovation – two essential drivers of human progress." 

Diane Paulus, A.R.T. Artistic Director, concurred: "This anniversary provides the A.R.T. an opportunity to explore the American Civil War, and civil war as it continues in our world today. We are fortunate to be part of a university with a president who is a preeminent Civil War scholar and historian. As the leader of an art institution on campus, I have been deeply inspired by President Faust’s embracing of the idea that the arts should play an important role in the cognitive life of the university.  Through this project, we are exploring ways in which artistic innovation and scholarly research can inform each other, leading to the generation of new theatrical projects and new courses in the Harvard curriculum."

The A.R.T. Projects

Roundtables

Through support from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching and the Mellon Foundation, the A.R.T. has hosted a series of roundtables designed to bring artists and scholars together in dialogue about a range of subjects related to the Civil War, leading to new courses at Harvard University and new readings, workshops, and productions on the A.R.T. stages.  The topics of the three roundtables have been “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Medicine, Weaponry, War Wounds, and The Soldier’s Body,” and “Civil War Photography, Painting, Reenactment, and Memoir.”
 

Work in Development

The Boston Abolitionists Project will be an ensemble-devised piece directed by Steven Bogart (director, Cabaret A.R.T. 2011/12 Season) about the abolitionist movement in Boston and the trial of the fugitive slave Anthony Burns. This will be performed in May 2013 with the graduating students of the A.R.T. Institute for Advance Theater Training. 
 
War Dept. will be a new music theater piece by Jim and Ruth Bauer (co-creators of The Blue Flower A.R.T. 2011/12 Season) set in Ford’s Theater that explores the lives of friends and family who search for answers among the records of the Civil War dead and wounded.   
 
Crossing: A New American Opera, Walt Whitman’s account of being a medic during the Civil War, is the inspiration for a new opera being composed by Matt Aucoin, 2012 graduate of Harvard University, graduate composition student at Juilliard School of Music, and assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. 
 

Education 

The A.R.T. will produce Proclamation, a writing immersion project that empowers an ensemble of creative teenagers to deconstruct, remix, and perform a primary source drawn from literature, history, or popular culture, using Civil War documents as source material.
Simultaneously, all the other theaters participating in The National Civil War Project will facilitate the same process with local teens in their respective areas. The three-week workshop will culminate in a local performance and a potential convening of all four teen ensembles in Washington D.C. to share each city’s Emancipation Story.
 
For further information visit civilwarproject.org
Facebook.com/NationalCivilWarProject
#civilwarproject
 

Press Articles

- Proclamation
The Boston Abolitionists Project
 
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