Local theatrical production gains regional traction, encore performances begin in September

Published: August 25, 2023 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University Southern hosted the inaugural Culture and Heritage Festival in June, which featured a theatrical performance created by Ironton resident Belinda Brown. And now her show is going on the road.

“Lives and hearts were touched,” said Brown. “So much so there have been requests for an encore performance from those who attended and those who were not able to attend the first performance.”

“Heritage: A Celebration of Historical Legacies” was written and directed by Brown and featured actors from the tri-state area. It was created as part of the Appalachian Freedom Heritage Tourism Initiative, celebrating the history of the Underground Railroad in Appalachian communities. The performance was a tribute to African Americans who have made contributions to our country.

“We’re bringing some inspiring characters to life,” said Brown. “Our whole goal is to educate, enlighten and inspire. The characters are African American, but everybody can see themselves in these people.”

One of the characters highlighted in the performance is Harriett Tubman.

“She’s one of my favorites, I’ve read 50,000 things about her. But doing research, I learned more,” Brown added. “I didn’t know that she was a suffragette, she fought for women’s right to vote. She was a veteran. She was the first woman to lead an expedition and be a spy in the Union Army. She led so many people to freedom, she is just an inspiration.”

In addition to well-known historical figures, local figures will also be highlighted.

“It’s not just people that you might’ve seen on TV or read in a book. That’s your neighbor up there, your cousin… If they can do it, you can too,” said Brown. “We’re trying to put pride in our people and in our community, to inspire us to plant the seeds and let them grow.”

There will be encore performances of the production at Ohio University Southern on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m., as well as at the University of Rio Grande on Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. as part of their Annual Emancipation Day Celebration.

“To have the positive feedback from the community and the full support of Ohio University Southern is truly a great blessing,” said Brown. “We look forward to bringing our performance once again to Ohio University Southern and other venues who have reached out to us.”

For more information, contact Robert Pleasant at pleasanr@ohio.edu.