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Hedgerow Theatre

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Zuhairah Gill’s Riveting Portrayal of An American Sheroe, Sojourner Truth

 

A play that is embraced by all people of all ages reflects our ancestors unmitigated audacity to love and achieve inspite of circumstances… Before President Barack Obama, Hip Hop, and even Harriet Tubman, There was Sojourner TRUTH. “SOJOURNER” by Richard LaMonte Pierce; The Riveting Story of One of America’s Greatest Sheroes is available for BOOKING for schools (study guide provided), fundraisers, events, and theatrical productions. Contact First World Theatre Ensemble at (267) 329-9746 or info@firstworldtheatre.biz. Available as 40 min version for schools & events, Full 1.5 hr production as one-woman show or with supporting cast. -Video reflects tour performance as co-productin with Hedgerow Theatre. Includes interview of Barrymore nominated Zuhairah McGill (Sojourner Truth) and Hedgerow Theatre Executive Director, Penelope Reed. Filmed & edited by Tito Irizarry (Iz Art Multimedia) for First World Theatre Ensemble.

Hedgerow Theatre is a theatre company based in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, nearPhiladelphia, founded in 1923. It was “for many years the only true U. S. professional repertory theater.”  The building is a contributing structure in the Rose Valley Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

Hedgerow was founded in 1923 by New York-based director and actor Jasper Deeterin Rose Valley, less than 3 miles from Media and Swarthmore. The theatre itself, originally a grist-mill built in 1840, seats 144 spectators, after a reconstruction designed by architect Will Price. It is a contributing structure in the Rose Valley Historic District. Hedgerow’s green room showcases a staircase and table designed by Wharton Esherick, acclaimed American craftsman, as well as one time set designer for Hedgerow. Located a half mile from the theatre is Hedgerow House, utilized as housing for the residential company members as well as a rehearsal space, school, and office, accompanied by the costume and prop shops.

During its long history, Hedgerow has helped to spawn other popular theatre companies, such as People’s Light and Theatre Company. Hedgerow has been the site of many play debuts, and has received recognition by producing the plays of George Bernard Shaw,Eugene O’Neill, and Sean O’Casey. Its actors have included Richard BasehartAnn HardingKeanu ReevesStephen Lang and Austin Pendleton.

Garden next to the theater.

Since 1990, Hedgerow has been under the artistic direction of Penelope Reed, who has encouraged the educational growth of the company as well as an atmosphere of collaboration. The company stages upwards of two dozen productions a year and relies on the dedication of its full-time company members, volunteers, and surrounding community. The typical Mainstage season consists of, but is never limited to, new plays, farces, Shakespeare, mysteries, and the seasonal favorite, A Christmas Carol. The Horizons series runs in repertory with the Mainstage season and frequently showcases new plays, often featuring the younger company members. Recently, the Mainstage season has been divided into two different series. The theatre has started to operated under a Small Professional Theatre contract, featuring more equity artists in what will be known as the Signature series, while the entire company and emerging artists will be featured in the Heritage series.

Hedgerow prides itself on educational productions and focuses much dedication to school tours as well as outreach programs to underserved audiences. The Children’s Theatre productions also serve as an educational outlet, featuring actors from ages three and up, many of whom have taken classes through the Hedgerow Theatre School, originally formed by Rose Schulman. It also offers fellowships to recent college graduates pursuing professional and practical experience. Fellows typically stay with the company for a year in residence at Hedgerow House and gain experience in acting, stage management, design, administration, and development.

Hedgerow was recently awarded the Best New Play 2005 Barrymore Award for The Lives of Bosie by John Wolfson.

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