The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama Project Narrative
a.) Major project activities: The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama’s Our Town Project type is innovative arts programming that fosters community interaction. The Shawnee Institute’s production will be a multi-media musical theatrical spectacular that specifically addresses the history and culture of Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania. Integral elements will include the Revolutionary War, The Shawnee Tribe, Tecumseh, Nicholas Depuy (a local Revolutionary War hero) and the very early filing of a manumission (the only document freeing a slave) through song, dance, music and historic slides.
Development of this project will require additional historic study, lengthy revisions of the current script, procurement of the appropriate composer to write the original score via our Shawnee Original Playwrights Series (S.O.P.S. through which we have been producing full scale, original, world-premier plays for the past 6 years), placement of the production team members (director, choreographer, music director, set designer, light designer, sound designer, costumer, etc.) selection of talent (via submissions, local auditions, and NYC singing/dancing auditions of professional performers), equipment purchases, equipment installation, advertising, rehearsals and ultimately performance.
It is our long term goal to make this production a permanent part of our Shawnee Village and Smithfield Township cultures by supplementing the Shawnee Playhouse performance calendar year round. The majority of the project expenses are during the set up only, and future ticket sales are anticipated to be able to provide ample income to pay for the continued upkeep of the show and any other related expenses. The performance space is available to us for this project free of charge, and will continue to be so indefinitely.
b.) Goals and impact. The goal of the Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama is to create an inter-active, historically accurate, educational and entertaining multi-media theatrical production which will foster community interaction. The impact of this will be creative placemaking wherein we will improve local business viability; bring our community members and visitors together to celebrate our undiscovered history while inspiring those same people to work for the preservation of our heritage. This project has been work-shopped three previous times, each time to great acclaim. The comment surveys we have collected and will continue to collect give us insight to our effectiveness. This project, once realized to its full capacity will be presented annually and will increase cultural and historical awareness within our community and will increase visitors to our community as well.
c.) Outcome(s) and Measurements. The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama, at The Shawnee Playhouse, will educate visitors of Smithfield Township about our region’s rich history through the arts. The production will take into account the development of Smithfield Township’s river valley, its native inhabitants, the region’s first European settlers, and finally, Smithfield Township’s modern history. The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama project directly addresses the NEA outcome for Livability: Strengthening communities through the arts, through performance arts activities that are intended to foster community interaction and enhance the unique characteristics of our rural community. In addition, the educational opportunities are endless. We anticipate the long-term results to be measurable community benefits, such as growth in overall levels of social and civic engagement; new avenues for expression and creativity; and job and revenue growth in our local tourism industry.
d.) Budget. The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama requests a $100,000 matched grant to be distributed over a 2 year period. The funds will be used to funds to launch the original production and then we will continue to produce it for years to come through ticket sales, community support and the generosity of the Shawnee Institute. Our project will not be associated with any other existing local projects that receive federal funding.
e.) Schedule of key project dates are as follows: September, 2014 – composer selection, script revision and production design; January, 2015 – purchase of theatrical equipment and selection of creative team; March 2015 – Auditions; May and June, 2015 – rehearsals; July through September, 2015 – December, 2015 – evaluation and revision of project; January, 2016 – further revisions and improvements; March, 2016 – casting; May and June, 2016 – rehearsals; July, 2016 – production re-opens for continued run.
f.) Partners, key organizations, individuals, and works of art that will be involved in the project are as follows: The two primary partners are the Shawnee Institute and the Township of Smithfield, PA. As The Shawnee Institute’s Primary Partner, Smithfield Township will provide guidance to the Worthington Players in the development of this important theatrical production. Smithfield Township possesses a wealth of information regarding the history of the region and is pleased to work closely with the Worthington Players to provide the most accurate production possible.
g.) The target community. The target communities that will benefit from the Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama project are local educators, students, historians, tourists and the residents of Smithfield Township. Our community is a rural environment serving as the primary residence to less than 6,000 people. We are very close to I-80 where nearly 80,000 cars travel on a daily basis. Our close proximity to New York City would allow easy access for educational tours. The rich history of the region needs to be explored and shared with all who pass by. There has been an insurgence of interest in our local history from within the township and from visitors exploring our region so it is the perfect time to implement out plan.
h.) Plans for promoting and publicizing Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama will include Internet marketing blasts, press releases, ads in local newspapers and magazines in the greater Pocono region beginning in the pre-production stages, increases as we prepare to open in July of 2015. Attendance at tradeshows and conferences will increase our visibility as well. We will be seeking members of the education, historical and bus tour industries as our primary audiences.
i.) Plans for documenting and evaluating the project. We will collect surveys from audience members throughout the entire process. In addition we will maintain a focus group that will provide feedback and insights throughout project development.
j.) Accessibility. The Shawnee Village Living Historical Drama project will be accessible to individuals with disabilities as our facility is in compliance with federal laws and regulations.