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‘Millworker the Documentary’ screening scheduled

‘Millworker the Documentary’ screening scheduled

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“Millworker the Documentary” cutline“Millworker,”rnthe play about the life ... (more)

08.01.2006Arts & Entertainment

PITTSBORO -“Millworker,” a play about the hard and poignant life ofrnNorth Carolina textile mill workers in the 1920s and 1930s, won acclaimrnwhen it hit the stage in 2003.

CentralrnCarolina Community College theater instructor Ellen Bland and DrewrnLasater, a former student of Bland, created the play, which wasrndirected by Bland. It featured a cast of CCCC students and communityrnmembers and musicians. “Millworker” premiered at the historic ChathamrnMills Center, a former textile plant.

Itrnwas intended as a one-night show, but rave reviews by theater criticsrnbrought requests for more, culminating in a dozen performances aroundrnthe state. In 2005, it won the North Carolina Theatre ConferencernCommunity Theatre Award.

The play and thernexcitement generated by it can now be experienced again through thernwork of Linda Booker, who was a student at Duke University’s Center forrnDocumentary Studies when “Millworker” was bringing audiences to itsrnfeet. Booker connected with the troupe and followed them around thernstate, chronicling the creation of the show and its impact on audiences.

Herrnwork, “Millworker the Documentary,” will be screened at the originalrnsite of the production, the Chatham Mills Center. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.rnThursday, Sept. 21. An admission donation of $5 is requested, with allrnproceeds benefiting ChathamArts (the Chatham County Arts Council) andrnthe “Anytown NC” project. The screening is hosted by the DukernUniversity Center for Documentary Studies, Chatham Mills Center andrnChathamArts.

“Millworker” is based on arnSouthern oral history book, “Like a Family: The Making of a SouthernrnCotton Mill Worker.” The book grew out of an oral history project onrnmill workers carried out by students at the University of NorthrnCarolina, Chapel Hill, in 1988. Bland and Lasater took that work andrncrafted it into great theater. Music and songs, most of them written byrntextile mill workers, are an integral part of the show.

“Werndid it for a one-night gig and it took off,” Bland said of the show’srnunexpected popularity. “I’m delighted it seemed to integrate so manyrncommunities as a tribute to the textile community. I love the theaterrnyou take to the people and it’s about their lives and they can relaternto it - that was thrilling.”

There willrnalso be a showing of “Anytown NC: Pittsboro Documentary Series” at thernscreening. “Anytown” is a series of eight short documentary filmsrnprofiling people, places and events in Pittsboro, produced inrnassociation with the Center for Documentary Studies.

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rn“Millworker the Documentary” and the “Anytown NC: Pittsboro DocumentaryrnSeries” will be screened at the Chatham Mills Center, 480 HillsborornSt., Pittsboro, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21. An admission donationrnof $5 is requested, with all proceeds benefiting ChathamArts and thern“Anytown NC” project.
rn For more information, call ChathamArts at (919) 542-0394.

DVDsrnof “Millworker the Documentary” are available at ChathamArts Galleryrnfor $15 for ChathamArts members and $20 for non-members. The DVDs alsorninclude a short documentary of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s visit with folkrnartist Clyde Jones.