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Ohio University to Celebrate 200 Years with Music and Dance Performance and Play

ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University has waited 200 years to have this kind of party, so now it's time to celebrate! The University is hosting two events that complement the rich arts tradition it has established the last two centuries.

On Founders Day, Feb. 18, the University will host "Turning Two Hundred - A Celebration of the Bicentennial of Ohio University," a collaborative multi-media event that begins at 8 p.m. at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

The performance is a collaboration of Ohio University Professor of Music Mark Phillips and Associate Professor of Dance Lisa Ford Moulton, who teamed up to produce an original piece that involves performances from Ohio University students and faculty. Phillips will serve as conductor for the musical pieces, while Moulton choreographs the dance numbers.

"This presentation is a wonderful commemoration of our bicentennial because it has immediate appeal for all listeners," said Ohio University President Robert Glidden. "It is a production as much as a concert or dance piece, and I expect it to have a performance life long after the Ohio University bicentennial year."

The event will also include the presentation of three Founders Citations to people who have been outstanding contributors to the University. The award is the highest bestowed by the University's Board of Trustees.

In March, the University will host four performances of Professor of Theater Charles Smith's play, "Free Man of Color," March 10-13, at the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater in Kantner Hall. The play, which stars Ohio University Assistant Professor of Theater Shelley Delaney, opened on Jan. 16 at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater and will run through Feb. 29. Preceding the play, another Founders Citation will be awarded.

"Free Man of Color" is based on the life of John Newton Templeton while he was a student at Ohio University. Templeton, a freed slave, became Ohio University's first African American graduate in 1828 and developed a unique relationship with Ohio University President Robert Wilson and his wife, Jane. The Wilsons had a keen interest in the United States' use of Liberia as a colony for freed slaves. During the play, Templeton searches for the answer to the question, "Is a freed slave really free?"

"This play will not only entertain the audience, but also challenge the audience to think provocatively," said Smith. "The play is a mix of fact and fiction and tells the story of a very important and unique individual, John Newton Templeton."

Both performances are part of Ohio University's yearlong celebration of its Bicentennial. Visit the Ohio University Bicentennial Web site at www.ohio.edu/bicentennial to learn more.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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