Why was it important to tell this story?
"History often tells the story of the victor, pushing an untold number of amazing stories to the fringes. These hidden stories are often incredibly poignant and thought provoking, but it takes time and research to find them. One such story is that of Annie Easley, a black woman working in STEM during a time of sweeping social and world change. Easley’s narrative represents how some people saw these changes as a way to not only better their own lives, but that of the community and world around them. By telling her story and her choices in the midst of change in the 1950s and 1960s, we hope to inspire others to see how one ordinary person can make lasting impacts on the lives of others and the larger world today.
One of the amazing things about Annie Easley is her attitude towards life. She is quoted saying “If I can’t work with you, I will work around you.” This attitude of finding a way to work within a system to change it and do the right thing is so important now. Telling this story is a way of talking about a remarkable person and spreading her insight to thousands."
What was the journey like leading up to performing
at IPAY Showcase?
"It has been a whirlwind as we first started working with playwright Stephanie Leary in the summer of 2018. We went to IPAY for the first time in 2019, actually taking a week off rehearsals for
to attend, and were blown away by the work and the delegates. We toured upstate New York during the spring of 2019 and knew from the feedback we received from kids and adults alike that we created an important show for young audiences. We want to bring this story to as many audiences as possible, which is what inspired us to apply to showcase at IPAY."
How do you feel
is impacting the lives of young people in the audience?
"The second performance talkback at IPAY really showed how
affects young people. After the show, a student what was seated in the front row listed Easley’s accomplishments and at the end said “Shouldn’t they throw a parade for her or something?” Yes, she should have a parade but we have started with a play.
In previous performances, we’ve had little girls in the audience start telling us how they plan to go into rocket science or other STEM fields and how much they loved learning about Easley. It is often scary to try something no one else has done before, yet students are inspired by Annie because she failed at first and didn’t give up. The rocket blew up, she was cut out of a group photo at NASA where she was the only black woman, but she kept going. She worked around people to accomplish what she wanted to do and young people relate to that on a deep level.
On a different note,
discusses many aspects of American history that kids often tune out in class. Using theatre as a medium inspires deeper discussion. One of the brilliant aspects of the talkback is that kids can ask their questions right then and there."