#GivingTuesday is November 29

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. Our goal is to raise $3,000 to support our free education programs by midnight on Tuesday November 29: the Free Elementary School Tour, The Lab and the Script-In-Hand Series (details below). Click here to make your contribution today and receive a free copy of our most recent eBook! FREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TOUR: The 2010 Census/2013 Addendum found that Utah is home to one of the highest percentages of children under age 18 in the nation (30.9% vs. 23.3%) and the largest average family size (3.14 vs. 2.64). And, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah is also home to the lowest per-pupil spending (ranked 51st/70% below the national average) and largest average class size (30% above the national average). It is increasingly difficult, and in many cases impossible, for Utah schools to provide field trips to arts events. Thus the Free Elementary School Tour was created to offer free, professional, in-school performances; expose elementary students to live theatre and encourage pre- and post-show classroom discussion of complex issues. The ultimate goal is greater civic engagement. We are currently the only professional theatre company in Utah touring new work created specifically for elementary students. We reach 15,000 K-6 students at 40+ schools in 7 counties each year – THE EDIBLE COMPLEX by Melissa Leilani Larson concluded its Tour earlier this month. At least one student at each school, on each Tour thus far, has thanked us for giving them their first experience with live theatre. Each Tour also includes at least one public performance and is partially funded by the National Endowment...

Matthew Ivan Bennett on his play WHAT WE HAD TO

Matthew Ivan Bennett has premiered several plays at Plan-B, most recently A/VERSION OF EVENTS, DIFFERENT=AMAZING and ERIC(A), which won Best Drama at United Solo in New York. Recently, he was a finalist at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and has twice been a finalist at the Austin Film Festival. He has also acted for Plan-B, SLAC, Utah Shakespeare Festival and Eclipse in Chicago. Matt is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild. Matt’s play WHAT WE HAD TO opens the 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series Wednesday, November 16. The event is free and at capacity – click here to wait list. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” That poem — which began with Pastor Martin Niemöller — has haunted world politics for at least 60 years. It’s been appropriated by left wing and right. Recently, I remember it being re-worded by gun advocates in the reverberations of the Sandy Hook Massacre. The poem is an exhortation. It says, “Fight back — at the first hint of despotism, fight back.” It demands courage against any and every “They.” It is also the story of someone who did not fight back. The logic of Niemöller’s poem would have us believe that tyranny surges in the...

Jeremy Harmon: Local Artist Inspired by Joe Hill

Plan-B Theatre’s world premiere of Debora Threedy’s ONE BIG UNION celebrates the impact and music of Joe Hill. The run is sold out (scroll to the bottom for wait list information). Jeremy Harmon is Director of Photography for The Salt Lake Tribune and a walking JoRegistere Hill encyclopedia. He gave the ONE BIG UNION cast, director and playwright a 4-hour tour of historical sites related to the play, and is one of the folks behind the Joe Hill website hosted by the Tribune. Register for Jeremy’s free lecture on Joe Hill on Monday, November 14.   What drew you to Joe Hill? I’m a music junkie and a history nerd. I had been aware of Joe Hill for quite some time because of his place in American folk music. That being said, my interest in Hill’s story really picked up when I read William Adler’s book “The Man Who Never Died.” I was amazed that all these dramatic events took place in Salt Lake City and that I hadn’t ever learned that much about them. After reading that book I bought the Folkways album of Hill’s songs that was produced by Lori Taylor. I also started looking for photos of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) activities in Utah. Because of my job at The Salt Lake Tribune, I was curating a weekly gallery of historic images for the paper’s website and I thought it would be really interesting to do one on the IWW. Initially I was really surprised by how little information was available, and forget about finding photos. There just aren’t any. As I learned more about the history of the...

Mark Hofeling: Local Artist Inspired by Joe Hill

Plan-B Theatre’s world premiere of Debora Threedy’s ONE BIG UNION celebrates the impact and music of Joe Hill. The initial run November 10-20 is sold out so we’ve added two performances on Sunday, November 13 and Sunday, November 20, both at 5:30pm) that go on this morning – Happy Halloween! Click here to purchase) . Over the past two years, two large-scale public art pieces have come to life in Salt Lake City. Last week, we chatted with Joshua & Heidi Belka, creators of the Joe Hill mural on Ken Sanders Rare Books. This week, we chat with Mark Hofeling who, along with Christian England, co-created the sculpture “10,000 Years of Labor in Utah” in the Central 9th Neighborhood. Tell us a little about yourself as an artist. I am a film and television production designer with almost 30 years in the business. While I have lived and worked in many cities in my career, I have made Salt Lake City my permanent home. Part of making peace with the hometown I used to want to flee from was embracing its true self, its actual history. Oddly enough, part of that embrace began unintentionally on a trip to visit a pen pal in Leningrad in the waining months of the USSR. What drew you to Joe Hill? In the hallway of a Russian government building we were gazing at portraits of the founders and heroes of socialism. Marx, Lenin, Engels, etc. But there was a man in a hat I had never seen before. My host was baffled that I had never heard of the man, seeing as that I was from Utah. It was...

Joshua & Heidi Belka: Local Artists Inspired by Joe Hill

Plan-B Theatre’s world premiere of Debora Threedy’s ONE BIG UNION (opening November 10-20, only 70 tickets remain for the run of the show as of this posting – click here to purchase) celebrates the impact and music of Joe Hill. Over the past two years, two large-scale public art pieces have come to life in Salt Lake City. This week, we chat with Joshua & Heidi Belka, creators of the Joe Hill mural on Ken Sanders Rare Books. Tell us a little about yourselves as artists. As artists we mostly just dabble. We also compose and play / sing for a band called Socialists. By trade we are union stagehands where collectively we are a seamstress, pyrotechnician, carpenter and entertainment riggers. What drew you to Joe Hill? Our interest in socialist / communist / anarchist ideas and U.S. labor history naturally led us to Joe Hill. As musicians we have used some of Joe’s lyrics. [You’re listening to “Joe Hill” by Socialists right now!] How was the original mural destroyed and how did the new one came to life on Ken Sanders Rare Books? As members of IATSE [International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees] Local 99, we sought and received permission from the membership at a monthly meeting to do some murals of labor activists on the south side of our union hall. As examples, we provided some portraits of Joe Hill and Emma Goldman that we had done. The only stipulation from the membership was “no hammer and sickle.” We complied and finished the mural in advance of the Joe Hill centennial celebration. The mural included the famous verse from “Workers...

Ten things playwright Debora Threedy wants you to know about Joe Hill before ONE BIG UNION opens November 10

Playwright Debora Threedy returns to Plan-B with ONE BIG UNION, where she has premiered her plays THE END OF THE HORIZON, WALLACE and THE THIRD CROSSING at Plan-B. THE END OF THE HORIZON and ONE BIG UNION were workshopped as part of Utah Shakespeare Festival’s New American Playwrights Project and THE THIRD CROSSING won the Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest. Her short play THE TIGERS OF AKANUMA premiered as part of SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO (Meat & Potato Theatre) and her play DESERT WIFE toured Utah for more than a year.  ONE BIG UNION celebrates the impact and music of Joe Hill. So we asked Debora to share ten things she wants you to know about him before you see the play. 1. Joe Hill was born Joel Hagglund (pronounced HEG-looned) in 1879 in Gavle, Sweden, and emigrated to America in 1902. The house where he was born serves today both as the branch office of a Swedish union and as the Joe Hill Museum, which draws 15,000 visitors a year. 2. His father was a railroad man and, when Hill was seven, his father was knocked under an engine, suffering severe internal injuries. Despite this, he never sought medical treatment until a year later, when the chronic pain became unbearable; he died on the operating table. His death threw the family into acute poverty; Hill left school at twelve and went to work in a rope factory. 3. In 1896, when he was seventeen, he developed splotches on the side of his nose and his wrist that were diagnosed as tuberculosis of the skin, a then often fatal disease; after four...

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