Texas Readers Theater series kicks off Saturday

Performance art complements exhibitions on view at the Bullock

JUNE 24, 2015 (AUSTIN, TX)  —  The Bullock Texas State History Museum is proud to launch its Texas Readers Theater Series June 27, 2015 to underscore the importance of the African American storytelling tradition with a series of readings from select plays and discussions with playwrights. The performance art series builds upon the visual art presented in two exhibitions now on view at the museum, " And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations" and "Reflections: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection." 

Seen through the lens of those taking part in pivotal historic moments, the Texas Readers Theater programs will explore the African American experience through several eras in time. Each of the three programs in the series is led by a playwright and Austin's Spectrum Theatre Company has partnered with the museum to provide actors for readings.

"By focusing on particular events told from various perspectives, programs in this series will be grounded in relatable, powerful history that enlightens the conversation of Texas's past and informs the present," Bullock Museum Head of Education Kate Betz said.

Texas Readers Theater Series

June 27, 2015   2-3 p.m.
"Fredrick Douglass: Reflections on a Struggle For Freedom"
A reading of a theatrical adaptation from his own memoirs and speeches highlight the life and times of Frederick Douglass who escaped from slavery, taught himself to read and write, and became a speechmaker, writer, civil rights activist, newspaper editor, recruiter for the Union army, and statesman. Dr. Sandra Mayo, the playwright, co-editor with Dr. Elvin Holt of "Acting Up and Getting Down: Plays by African American Texans, co-author of Stages of Struggle and Celebration: A History of Black in Texas," and consultant for the Texas Readers Theater Series will share comments on the  anthology.

July 25, 2015   2-3 p.m.
"Camp Logan"
"Camp Logan" dramatizes the true story of the rebellion by an all-Black U.S. Army regiment stationed in Houston, Texas in 1917. The play was featured in "Acting Up and Getting Down: Plays by African American Texans," a collection of seven compelling plays from award-winning Texas writers. Playwright Celeste Bedford Walker will provide commentary about the work.

August 15, 2015  2-3 p.m.
"Somebody Called"
The third and final program in the Texas Readers Theater Series will include a reading from actor and playwright Eugene Lee. Texas State University's Artist in Residence, Lee will read select scenes from his plays, including "Somebody Called," the story of two Christian preachers in the Jim Crow south weaves together a powerful story of faith and integration. After the reading, Lee will discuss the significance of and inspiration for his work.

"And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations" is one of the Bullock Museum's two summer exhibitions held in honor of the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. Organized by the Women of Color Quilters Network in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, it will be on view at the Bullock Museum through Aug. 30, 2015. This exhibition features 69 handcrafted quilts that narrate the history of the African American experience, capturing the stories of freedom’s heroes, ranging from Frederick Douglass to Thurgood Marshall to the first African American President.

The second summer exhibition, "Reflections: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection," is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC in collaboration with the office of Myrna Colley-Lee. It will be on view at through Aug. 23, 2015. It is comprised of 55 paintings,

photographs, textile pieces and works on paper from the collection of Myrna Colley-Lee, pioneer costume designer, professional artist and arts advocate. It features an array of work by artists such as Randy Hayes, Ernest Crichlow, Elizabeth Catlett, James Van Der Zee, Eudora Welty, Romare Bearden and more.

The Texas Readers Theater series and the exhibitions are part of the Bullock Museum's "100 Days of Stories," a full summer lineup of exhibitions, programs, films and events that encourage visitors to celebrate the many stories of Texas and to tell their own. For more information, visit TheStoryofTexas.com.

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin includes three floors of exhibitions, an IMAX® theater, a special-effects theater, café and museum store. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and produce exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. Named for the state's 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, the iconic building is at 1800 N. Congress Avenue. For more, visit TheStoryofTexas.com or call (512) 936-8746.