Hannibal residents and area students will enjoy free performances of a professional play with funding help from the Riedel Foundation.
The Riedel Board of Trustees recently awarded a $4,000 grant to Bluff City Theater to stage the upcoming production. It will be offered free in the theater to Hannibal residents. The show will also be performed at local schools.
“We are glad to support Bluff City Theater, especially as they bring this production directly to area schools,” said Riedel Trustee Paul Richards. “I think it’s a great opportunity for children to learn about and appreciate the arts.”
The production is called “Paul Robeson.” It is based on the life of Rutgers University valedictorian and All-American football player Paul Robeson, who couldn’t get hired as an attorney because he was an African American. He then became an actor known for his hit song “Ol’ Man River” in the musical Showboat. He was virtually erased from history for his activism on racial equality. He was also banned in the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950’s.
“This is an important story that needs to be shared,” said Bluff City Theater Executive Director Joe Anderson. “With the help of the Riedel Foundation, we have been able to put on several free performances both to the public and at local schools in recent years. There’s been a significant change in our demographics when shows are performed for free, making theater accessible to everyone.”
The production “Paul Robeson” will run four times for the general public between October 26 and October 29. The play will then move to area schools. For the first time, Bluff City Theater is making this show available as a streaming event for people who can’t make it to the theater. It will also be available for schools even if they don’t get to see the show live.
This spring, the Riedel Foundation sponsored two free plays produced by Bluff City Theater.