Everyday heroes are stars of ‘Freedom Days’ on UofL stage


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A six-year-old child and a postman are just two of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era whose stories will be brought to life by University of Louisville actors.

    “Freedom Days,” the second main stage show of the 2014-15 season, centers on a series of vignettes about everyday people living through the turbulence of the 1960s civil rights movement incorporated with traditional folk songs, spirituals, gospel and civil rights anthems.

    The play takes the audience across the South from six-year-old Ruby Bridges’ efforts to integrate schools in New Orleans to a postman’s dangerous delivery route through Mississippi. It uncovers the tragedy and triumph of the era through a Klansman’s horrific crimes in contrast to his wife’s heroic actions.

    Originally written by Steve Friedman, Professor Russell Vandenbroucke, director of UofL’s production, wrote two additional vignettes to bookend the play. Ron Jones serves as musical director.

    The production’s historical lessons run parallel to today, Vandenbroucke said.

    “Like all good historical plays, ‘Freedom Days’ is ultimately about the present. It immerses its audience in the past and in doing so confirms Faulkner’s famous observation that the past is never dead – it’s not even the past,” Vandenbroucke said. “Recent events, including the murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, remind us that the struggle for equality and justice for all persists.”

    “Freedom Days” runs Nov. 19-23 at Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd Street. Performances are at 8 p.m. with an additional 3 p.m. matinee Nov. 23. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. To order tickets, or for more information, call the box office at (502) 852-6814 or visit www.louisville.edu/theatrearts.

    “Freedom Days” is produced with support from the Communication Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and is part of the university’s “Project Progress,” a five-year series celebrating the civil rights movement sponsored by the Department of Pan-African Studies and the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs.

    Erica Walsh
    Erica Walsh is the marketing director for the Office of Communications and Marketing. Her job lets her share UofL’s good news in all avenues of communications including UofL Magazine, advertising, content marketing and branding. Walsh joined UofL in 2014 after previously serving as the public relations specialist at Indiana University Southeast. Prior to her career in higher education communications she was an award-winning newspaper reporter. Red is one of her favorite colors and it’s a good thing, too, because she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University and her master’s in communication from UofL.