Arts & Leisure

‘The Agitators’: A play reading at Clemmons Family Farm

THE PLAY, WRITTEN by Mat Smart, profiles the 45-year friendship of suffragette Susan B. Anthony and escaped slave turned civil rights leader Frederick Douglass.

CHARLOTTE — Middlebury College Professors Michole Biancosino and Claudio Medeiros and Town Hall Theater (THT) present a play reading of “The Agitators” outdoors at Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte on October for 17 and 18. The play, written by Mat Smart, profiles the 45-year friendship of suffragette Susan B. Anthony and escaped slave turned civil rights leader Frederick Douglass.
“Do you believe this can ever be a country for all?” Susan B. Anthony asks Frederick Douglass on the day they first meet. This question is a focal point of “The Agitators,” a play that explores the shared dreams, disagreements and defiance of two great American leaders, both agitating for someone else’s rights.
“The Agitators is a stunningly beautiful play that chronicles the long friendship between two abolitionists, yet the themes of the play resonate strongly today as our nation contemplates the upcoming election,” Director Biancosino said. “As you hear the words of Douglass, a man fighting to be seen as equal to and given the same rights as any other man, you can’t help but draw a historical line from the mid-1800s to our current political and historical moment.”
“I think the arts, and theatre in particular, can be a place where we come together to consider our humanity as a community and ask difficult questions,” Biancosino added, encouraging us to consider: “What type of society do we live in today? What society do we want for our future? And what are we as individuals willing to do to create a more just and equal world?”
With Middlebury College closed to the public, Biancosino decided to take the final event in the college’s 21st Century Theatre Festival, “The Agitators,” on the road in order to safely livestream the production to students on campus.
Working with Town Hall Theater, Biancosino and THT Executive Director Lisa Mitchell quickly found a perfect partner in the Clemmons Family Farm. Community building, education, and a commitment to providing a shared value and sense of place for Black-owned land are hallmarks of the farm’s mission. “Steeped in African history, art, and heritage, and with a natural outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Adirondacks, the Clemmons Family Farm brings a deeply meaningful sense of place to The Agitators,” Mitchell said.
This is the Clemmons Family Farm’s first outdoor program in 2020 due to the pandemic. “We could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to co-host this timely and important play,” said Lydia Clemmons, President of the Clemmons Family Farm. “We are looking forward to sharing this beautiful place with the community we love and have missed so much. We know that people have been yearning to find ways to come together in a loving and intentional way, especially during these tense times. We are grateful for Town Hall Theater’s support of one of the few remaining African-American owned farms in the state and nation and our nonprofit’s mission to build community around African-American history, arts and culture and across their differences of race.”
Tickets can be reserved online at townhalltheater.org and clemmonsfamilyfarm.org/agitators.html and are will-call only on the day of the event. Tickets are limited and free but must be reserved in advance. In lieu of a ticket price, consider donating to Town Hall Theater (townhalltheater.org) and the Clemmons Family Farm (clemmonsfamilyfarm.org).
This play is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

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