Old Globe brings community voices to stage
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Have you ever wondered what it might be like to write a play and have it produced? San Diego’s Old Globe is giving community members the change to become playwrights.
On Tuesday, we joined the audience at a Skyline Hills senior center for the debut of a work by first time playwright Claudia Thompson. As a participant in the Old Globe’s Community Voices program, Thompson began writing about the life of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.
Keckley was a former Virginia slave who bought her freedom from her owners, and became a dressmaker and close confidante to First Lady Mary Lincoln. The setting for the inaugural performance of the play was the George Stevens Resource Center where members were celebrating Juneteenth, a holiday that originated in Texas to mark freedom from slavery and is now observed in African-American communities around the nation.
Thompson’s play about the 19th century White House dressmaker, businesswoman and philanthropist is a product of the Old Globe’s playwriting and arts engagement programs. At age 74, Thompson said she never imagined that her writing would ever make it to the stage. “It’s just extraordinary that that path was there, and I was able to walk on that path, at this time of my life,” Thompson said.
Katie Harroff who teaches the community writing classes said there are many other voices waiting to be heard. “I mean Claudia is a very special woman. It takes a very special person to be passionate enough to get to this place with your writing, but the wonderful thing about these programs is we’re finding people like that all over San Diego.”
Thompson’s play, “Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley” will be performed again on Sunday, June 24 at Hattox Hall at The Old Globe. Seats must be reserved for the 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. performances. Tickets are free!