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Arts-A-Fire ready to roll with ‘Freedom Is My Middle Name’

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
The Arts-A-Fire Youth Theater Troupe production of “Freedom Is My Middle Name” will be presented April 1-3 at Evergreen Theatre at1705 Poplar. The Arts-A-Fire Youth Theater Troupe production of “Freedom Is My Middle Name” will be presented April 1-3 at Evergreen Theatre at1705 Poplar.

Written by Lee Hunkins and directed Naomi Williams Moody, the drama with music takes students on a historical journey filled with magic, excitement and humor.

“You got to have goals and dreams. You got to find love in your hearts!” With those words, and the help of a magic quilt, Stagecoach Mary takes five urban students on a journey into the past where they meet historical figures in African-American history. Their first stop is Atlanta and the year is 1858.

Cast members include Breanna Taylor, Saffrom Combs, Joshua Conway, Kahlil Bair, Brandy Goodwin, Clara Slappy, Jennifer Thomas, Zackery Taylor, Wendy Goodwin, Amanda Porterfield, Chelsea White, Lamar Hargrove, Courtney Fowler, Terrence Martin, Zakiyah Walker, Nzingah Walker and Jared Williams.

An award-winning author, Hunkins was born in New York City. She began her career at the American Community Theatre in Harlem, where she learned about props, sound, sets and, most important of all, the art of playwriting. After two years at A.C.T. she wrote her first play, “The Square Peg”. Her stage works include “Freedom Is My Middle Name,” “The Best of Strangers,” “Sequestered,” “Anybody I Want to Be,” “Just One Step,” and “Revival.”

Her TV productions include a two-hour drama, “Hollow Image,” a Titus Production for ABC-TV; “The Signpainter’s Dream,” “Uncle Jed’s Barbershop” and “Always My Dad” for PBS Reading Rainbow Series. Hunkins received a 1996 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series and a 1997 Emmy nomination. She is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a member of The Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America (East), The League of Professional Theatre Women/NY, and The James Baldwin Writer’s Workshop Theatre.

Sponsored by the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, the Arts-A-Fire Youth Theater Troupe annually provides more than 50 young people the opportunity to excel on stage, to learn production and stage management and set design as well as to act, sing and dance before a live audience at part of the FireHouse Community Arts Academy.


Show times for “Freedom Is My Middle Name” are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (April 1-2) and 3 p.m. on Sunday (April 3) at Evergreen Theatre. Tickets are $15, $12 for MBAA members and $10 for children under 14 and groups of 10 or more. Call 901-948-9522 to reserve tickets. Tickets also can be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/156426.

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