Fes­ti­val Un­Bound

Here’s the run­down on what you’ll find at Beth­le­hem’s new 10-day event

The Morning Call - - COVER STORY - By Jen­nifer Shee­han

Theater should be more than just a script and a group of ac­tors.

The au­di­ence is a crit­i­cal piece, for it can drive the ori­gins of the story and af­fect change af­ter­ward.

“You’re try­ing to do some­thing that re­ally moves your au­di­ences and hope­fully moves them for­ward to­wards some kind of ac­com­plish­ment,” says Wil­liam Ge­orge, Touchstone Theatre’s co-founder and ensem­ble mem­ber.

Touchstone, along with com­mu­nity groups across the city of Beth­le­hem, will host a mas­sive, multi-day com­mu­nity arts ini­tia­tive, Fes­ti­val Un­Bound, which will run Oct. 4 to 13 at nu­mer­ous sites around Beth­le­hem. The event will of­fer more than 20 free and tick­eted events fea­tur­ing music, com­mu­nity fo­rums, food and, of course, theater.

The goal: To hear about the chal­lenges fac­ing the di­verse groups that make up

Beth­le­hem to­day and to try to come to­gether as a com­mu­nity to shape the fu­ture through art.

The fes­ti­val was or­ga­nized in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the City of Beth­le­hem, lo­cal African Amer­i­can and Latino com­mu­ni­ties, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions such as the Le­high Val­ley Char­ter High School for the Arts and Mo­ra­vian Col­lege, area steel­work­ers and other res­i­dents.

Here’s the run­down on some of what you can see at the fes­ti­val:

■ Open­ing cer­e­mony: A cel­e­bra­tory pro­ces­sional down the South Beth­le­hem Green­way with live music. 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 4, South Beth­le­hem Green­way. Free; do­na­tions wel­come.

■ Prometheus/Re­dux: Pre­miere of the orig­i­nal play com­mis­sioned for Fes­ti­val Un­Bound, writ­ten by Ger­ald Strop­nicky. Marks the 20th an­niver­sary of Beth­le­hem Steel’s clos­ing and is a com­pan­ion piece to the sem­i­nal work “Steel­bound” from Touchstone’s 1999 Steel

Fes­ti­val. Oct. 4-6, Le­high Val­ley Char­ter High School for the Arts, 321 E. Third St., Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $25, adults; $15, stu­dents, se­niors, steel­work­ers; lim­ited num­ber of pay-what-you-will tick­ets avail­able.

■ Fes­ti­val Un­Bound Cabaret: An “evening wa­ter­ing hole” with food, drinks and con­ver­sa­tion, along with some per­for­mances by some of the area’s mu­si­cal and per­form­ing artists. Oct. 4-6, 11-12, Touchstone Theatre park­ing lot at 321 E. Fourth St., Beth­le­hem. Free.

■ Home­com­ing: An af­ter­noon gath­er­ing high­light­ing the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity in the Le­high Val­ley, with spo­ken word poets, live music, African drum­ming, a show­case of eth­nic foods and ven­dors, and speak­ers on health and eq­uity is­sues. Fea­tured speaker is the Rev. Dr. Gre­gory Ed­wards. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 5, Bob Cohen Room, Beth­le­hem Area Pub­lic Li­brary, 11 W. Church St. Free; do­na­tions ac­cepted.

■ “Hid­den Seed:

Beth­le­hem’s For­got­ten Utopia:” An orig­i­nal

pro­duc­tion writ­ten by Ge­orge and Le­high Univer­sity’s Seth Moglen, ex­plor­ing Beth­le­hem’s birth and how it can strengthen our fu­ture by un­earthing the sto­ries of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and women’s rights. Oct. 5-9, Sin­gle Sis­ters House, 50 W. Church

St., Beth­le­hem (lim­ited hand­i­capped ac­cess), and Oct. 10, PBS 39 839 Sesame St., Beth­le­hem (hand­i­capped ac­ces­si­ble). Tick­ets: $20; lim­ited num­ber of pay-what-you-will tick­ets avail­able.

■ “Starry-Eyed:” Orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion cre­ated and writ­ten by high school teens from the city about a group of mis­fit heroes who find them­selves in Beth­le­hem by ac­ci­dent, but stay to fight the mon­sters that they find there – and face their own fears. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Oct. 5-6, Pay­row Plaza, 10 E. Church St, Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: Pay-what-you-will: Sug­gest do­na­tion of $15, adults; $10, stu­dents and se­niors.

■ “The Se­cret:” Pre­miere of a play by Mock Tur­tle

Mar­i­onette Theater on the Le­high Val­ley’s most in­flu­en­tial artist, the cel­e­brated fem­i­nist writer and LGBTQ icon Hilda Doolit­tle, fea­tur­ing nar­ra­tive, song and pup­petry. Oct. 5-8, Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St, Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $25, adults; $15, stu­dents and se­niors; lim­ited num­ber of pay-what-you-will tick­ets avail­able. ■ “Kitchen Chron­i­cles:” Led

by Touchstone Ensem­ble mem­ber Mary Wright, this per­for­mance of­fers a one-of-a-kind take on the pow­ers of food and wisdom shared in the kitchen. 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 6-7, PBS 39 839 Sesame St., Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $20; lim­ited num­ber of Pay What You Will tick­ets avail­able.

■ A Joy­ful Noise: The Bach Choir of Beth­le­hem will lead this event in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nazareth Area High School Can­tus, Camille Arm­strong, Greater Shiloh Church Choir,

Big Easy Eas­ton Brass, Ysaye Barn­well of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Le­high Val­ley Char­ter High School for the Arts Tour­ing Choir, Bel Canto Youth Chorus and Jakopa’s Punch. This will ex­plore how mak­ing music can bring peo­ple to­gether. 4-6 p.m. Oct. 6, Zoell­ner Arts Cen­ter, Baker Hall, Le­high Univer­sity, 420 E. Packer Ave., Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $15, adults; $10, stu­dents; lim­ited num­ber of Pay What You Will tick­ets avail­able.

■ “Be­yond Utopia:” Vis­it­ing Pol­ish com­pany Teatr Brama leads Mo­ra­vian Col­lege un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents and grad­u­ate stu­dents from the new Mo­ra­vian/Touchstone MFA pro­gram in Per­for­mance Cre­ation in an orig­i­nal work de­vel­oped for the fes­ti­val ex­plor­ing themes of poverty and in­equal­ity in pur­suit of a new vi­sion for Beth­le­hem. Oct. 7-8, Beth­le­hem Area Pub­lic Li­brary, 11 W. Church St., Beth­le­hem. Pay What You Will: Sug­gested do­na­tion of $10, adults; $5, stu­dents and se­niors.

■ Com­mu­nity Con­ver­sa­tions: This noon­time se­ries will ex­plore fes­ti­val themes in a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment, mod­er­ated by Touchstone Ensem­ble mem­ber/Mo­ra­vian Col­lege pro­fes­sor Christo­pher Shorr. Noon-1 p.m. Oct. 7-11, Café the Lodge, 427 E. Fourth St., Beth­le­hem. Free; food and drink avail­able for pur­chase.

■ In­side/Out­side City: From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 9 you’ll find ran­dom acts of in­clu­sion fea­tur­ing mu­si­cal, recre­ational and artis­tic events open to pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion. South Beth­le­hem Green­way, Free.

■ “To Hunt a Wild Utopia, ”a new com­mis­sioned work by Ag­ile Ras­cal Bi­cy­cle Tour­ing Theatre will take au­di­ences on a wild the­atri­cal ride, lit­er­ally, through Beth­le­hem on a quest for utopia. Ticket-hold­ers will ride with the troupe of cham­pi­ons for green transport and adventure. Oct. 9-12, be­gin­ning at Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River St., Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $15, adult; $10, stu­dents and se­niors; lim­ited num­ber of Pay What You Will tick­ets avail­able. Pre-reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired; bi­cy­cles pro­vided.

■ Poets, Troubadour­s, and Trou­ble­mak­ers: Three evenings of live, orig­i­nal music, cre­ated in the spirit of Fes­ti­val Un­Bound. A col­lab­o­ra­tion with God­frey Daniels and folk mu­si­cian Anne Hills. Oct. 9, Si­gal Mu­seum, 342 Northamp­ton St. Eas­ton; Oct. 10, The Lyric Room, Miller Sym­phony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Al­len­town; Oct. 11, God­frey Daniels, 7 E. Fourth St, Beth­le­hem. Tick­ets: $15; lim­ited num­ber of Pay What You Will tick­ets avail­able.

■ “For­ward March: The Fu­ture of Our Warriors:” An orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion by Women Veter­ans Em­pow­ered & Thriv­ing fea­tur­ing poetry, sto­ry­telling and theater de­signed to bridge the gap be­tween veter­ans and civil­ians. Oct. 9-10, Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St., Beth­le­hem. Pay What You Will: Sug­gested do­na­tion of $15, adults: $10, stu­dents, se­niors and veter­ans.

■ Sus­tain­abil­ity Forum: A town hall-style gath­er­ing to brain­storm how to cre­ate a healthy and con­nected com­mu­nity. 1-3 p.m. Oct. 12, Zoell­ner Arts Cen­ter, Le­high Univer­sity, 420 E. Packer Ave., Beth­le­hem. Free; do­na­tions ac­cepted.

■ “Em­brac­ing Beth­le­hem/Abra­zos a Belén:” An orig­i­nal site-spe­cific the­atri­cal ex­pe­ri­ence of song and story by New York’s pre-em­i­nent Latino theatre col­lec­tive Pre­gones Theatre de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Beth­le­hem’s Latino com­mu­nity. Oct. 11-12, Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River St., Beth­le­hem. Pay-what-you-will: Sug­gested do­na­tion $15, adults; $10, stu­dents and se­niors.

■ Com­mu­nity Meal & Epi­logue: A chance to en­joy Beth­le­hem’s fa­vorite foods, hear live music and share take­aways from the Fes­ti­val Un­Bound ex­pe­ri­ence. 2-5 p.m. Oct. 13, Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River St. Beth­le­hem. Free (food in­cluded); do­na­tions wel­come.

■ Clos­ing cer­e­mony: Song, dance and more. 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 13, Pay­row Plaza, 10 E. Church St., Beth­le­hem. Free; do­na­tions wel­come.

Info: fes­ti­val­un­bound .com/events/

TOUCHSTONE THEATRE PHO­TOS

“Starry-Eyed”

ED LESKIN/CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

“The Se­cret” will de­but as part of Fes­ti­val Un­Bound, which will run Oct. 4 to Oct. 13 at nu­mer­ous sites around Beth­le­hem. The event will of­fer more than 20 free and tick­eted events fea­tur­ing music, com­mu­nity fo­rums, food and, of course, theater.

IRENE YOUNG/SPE­CIAL TO THE MORN­ING CALL

Folk mu­si­cian Anne Hills will be part of Poets, Troubadour­s and Trou­ble­mak­ers at the new Fes­ti­val Un­Bound, which will run Oct. 4 to Oct. 13 at nu­mer­ous sites around Beth­le­hem.

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