HWS Theatre presents a history-based theatrical walking tour based on the real lives of past Genevans.
During Homecoming and Family Weekend, catch the world premiere of “From the Beyond: Geneva’s Unheard Voices,” a theatrical walking tour depicting the lives of un- and under-represented African American people who lived in Geneva, N.Y. The production will be performed outdoors, in downtown Geneva, N.Y., by HWS and community actors on Sept. 24 and 25 (rain or shine).
(In the photo above, actor Samari Brown ’24 poses in the city’s historical society. The photo was modeled after the 19th century image of Genevan Nancy Lucas Curlin.)
The production was written by summer research assistants in the Theatre Department, including Anthony Bray ’23, Samari Brown ’24, Sal Fabio ’22 and Christina Roc ’24. The group conducted archival research at the Colleges’ archives, the Geneva Public Library and Historic Geneva. The production is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth.
The historic figures depicted in From Beyond: Geneva’s Unheard Voices include Daniel Prue, Nancy Lucas Curlin, Marie Gray, Robert Linzy, Arthur Kenney, Mary Georgetta Cleggett Kenney and Henry McDonald. They were athletes, war heroes, educators, and entrepreneurs who lived and worked in Geneva, N.Y. in the 19th century.
In addition to the summer research assistants, actors portraying historic figures include Sydney Moore and Rafael Vasquez ’25. Tour Guides are portrayed by Hannah Angelico ’25, Henry Barton ’25, Lily Davis ’24, August Deimel, Derrielle Faulkner ‘25, Hannah Haines ’25, Syed Jafri ’24, Kevin “KJ” Johnson, Audrey King ’25, Van Nguyen ’25, Eliyah Roberts ’24, Gabriela Rosa ’22 and James Sarver ’24. The design and production team consists of Ed Hallborg (Scenic and Lighting Design / Technical Director), Katharine Tarkulich (Costume Designer), Kelly Walker (Sound Design / Video Streaming), Grace Amonette ’24 (Costume Assistant), Troy Tedeschi ’22 (Stage Manager) and Hailey Adams ’24, Ali Khan ’23 and Berit Schönnege (Assistant Stage Managers).
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., audience groups of 10-15 people will depart every 15 minutes from the Seneca St. parking lot (behind Stomping Grounds). Each audience group will be accompanied by two actors portraying tour guides. Latecomers forfeit their spot in a tour group. The performance lasts approximately one hour and will travel the distance of approximately two blocks. There will be a few chairs available at each performance location for those that may need them. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance through Historic Geneva. Tickets will be free for all students (K-12 and college) but will still need to be reserved in advance. Advance ticket sales will close at noon on each performance day. A limited number of walk-up tickets may be available on performance nights if there are unsold tickets. All proceeds benefit Historic Geneva.
Actors and production staff will be masked for the duration of the performance. Audience members are strongly encouraged to wear masks while on the tour. For those unable to attend in person, there will also be a livestream of the performance each evening at 6 p.m. through the HWS Theatre Facebook page.
Tour Times and Tour Guides for Friday, Sept. 24:
5:30- Derrielle Faulkner & Lily Davis
5:45- James Sarver & Syed Jafri
6:00*- Eliyah Roberts & Henry Barton
6:15- Hannah Haines & Van Nguyen
6:30- Gabriela Rosa & August Deimel
6:45- Hannah Angelico & Audrey King
7:00- Derrielle Faulkner & Lily Davis
7:15- James Sarver & Syed Jafri
Tour Times and Tour Guides for Saturday, Sept. 25:
5:30- Hannah Haines & Van Nguyen
5:45- Hannah Angelico & Audrey King
6:00*- Gabriela Rosa & August Deimel
6:15- James Sarver & Syed Jafri
6:30- Eliyah Roberts & Henry Barton
6:45- Derrielle Faulkner & Lily Davis
7:00- Hannah Haines & Van Nguyen
7:15- Hannah Angelico & Audrey King
A partnership between Historic Geneva and HWS Theatre, this production is the third version of the From Beyond series and the first to focus solely on the African American community. The project was inspired by Make a Way Somehow: African-American Life in a Northern Community, 1790-1965 by Kathryn Grover (Syracuse UP, 1995), which documents the history of Black Genevans through archival research and oral histories.
In advance of the production, Geneva Public Library sponsored a community book discussion of Make a Way Somehow: African-American Life in a Northern Community, 1790-1965 by Kathryn Grover on Sept. 16. Copies of the book may be purchased from Historic Geneva or Stomping Grounds. In addition to the performances, HWS Theatre presents a Frame/Works pre-show talk on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. in Williams 201 on the HWS Campus. The summer research students will discuss their process of researching and writing From Beyond: Geneva’s Unheard Voices.