Every month the Arts Council spotlights a grantee to showcase the amazing impact your United Arts Campaign contributions have on the community and beyond. This month’s spotlight is on Bated Breath Theatre Company. Read our previous grantee spotlights.
Have you ever visited a museum and wished the artwork would come to life in a full-fledged performance? You’re in luck! Bated Breath Theatre Company, a Hartford-based theatre group (and our grantee!) partners with area museums to create visceral performances based on exhibitions. Many of these performances take place in museum galleries, reimagining museum space as a theatre stage, and breaking down barriers between the audience and paintings on the walls. It’s an intriguing concept and one that I hope will become more popular.
Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to watch the open rehearsal of Freedom: In 3 Acts, a play directed by Mara Lieberman, the Artistic Director of Bated Breath Theatre Company. The play is inspired by The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Emancipation! exhibit that featured artwork and artifacts from the Emancipation Proclamation era. Through heartfelt song, dance, and dialogue Freedom: In 3 Acts brings to life the civil rights struggle and evolution, evoking more emotion than a still image could yield. To say that the performance is moving or affecting would be an understatement. Freedom: In 3 Acts won’t just make you cry, it will make you question your value system including – but not limited to – your privilege. And though Freedom is based over 80 years in the past, it’s impossible not to make parallels to the present. The play is a stark reminder that racial justice in this country is an ongoing struggle, but it’s important to note that it does so without being preachy. Like all good theatre, Freedom shows without telling, which is precisely the beauty of it. It not only tugs at your heartstrings, it puts you – the audience member – in the characters’ shoes.
It comes as no surprise then that Bated Breath Theatre Company was recently awarded an Award of Merit by the Connecticut League of History Organizations for Freedom: In 3 Acts. Congratulations to the budding organization (it’s under 10 years old!). If you ever have the opportunity to see a performance by Bated Breath, do yourself a favor and go see it!
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