POTTSTOWN PA – Performances of a new play that tells story of the Pottstown community, titled “A Promise to Pottstown,” will be premiered during September at Steel River Playhouse, 245 E. High St., with free tickets available by reservation, the theater announced.
Written by playwright Brie Knight, “A Promise to Pottstown” is based on nearly 100 interviews done with area residents, and addresses how the community has overcome hardships by working together. The production is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Shows are scheduled for:
- Sept. 7 (Thursday), Sept. 9 (Saturday), and Sept. 15 and 16 (Friday and Saturday) at 7 p.m.;
- Sept. 10 (Sunday) in a 2 p.m. matinée followed by a talk-back session with Knight;
- Sept. 15 in a 2 p.m. “relaxed performance” matinée, with a welcoming environment for all patrons to enjoy live theater and express themselves freely without judgment. It is intended for “individuals with ADD, ADHD, dementia, autism, sensory sensitivities, or any patron who would enjoy a performance where they can freely express themselves,” the playhouse said; and
- Sept. 17 (Sunday) in a 2 p.m. matinée that will be followed by an open-to-the-public celebratory community block party.
“The authentic stories of our friends and neighbors in the community gave our playwright, Brie Knight, the kind of material she needed to create this play,” Steel River Artistic Director Leena Devlin said. It “will ring true to so many living and working in Pottstown. I believe strongly in the power of transformational storytelling, and I couldn’t be more proud to bring this powerful story of the people of Pottstown to the Steel River stage,” she added.
“A Promise to Pottstown” will be directed by Reva Stover, co-artistic director of Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia. It is a story “about community working together to overcome hardship – whether that hardship is due to a pandemic, racial violence, or even just growing up,” she explained. “The community of Pottstown is one that comes together to champion one another.”
“I love creating 4-D experiences that invite the audience to participate in the world of the play,” Stover noted. “I am so excited to invite audiences into our little version of Pottstown for a taste of that community from the stage!”
Steel River said its partners in presenting the play include the YWCA TriCounty Area, the Pottstown Trauma Informed Community Connection, the Pottstown School District, the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation, and others.
The partnership “been working hard for a couple of years to bring this story to the community,” according to Devlin, who thanked its members for their efforts on the project. She said the play reflects “the authentic stories of our friends and neighbors in the community,” (who) gave Knight “the kind of material she needed to create this play (which) will ring true to so many living and working in Pottstown.”
The theater reported a community cohort worked with Knight, offering feedback to help focus the responses. The play then went through several iterations to reach its final status, it added.
Steel River Playhouse is a non-profit theatre and education organization. It is “dedicated to sharing stories that reflect our collective humanity, by providing a nurturing and empowering environment to represent and serve our diverse community,” it said. For more information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos provided to Travels With The Post by Steel River Playhouse