DAVIDSON, N.C. — A new theater company is aiming to create a space for professional artists to call home while bringing stories of underrepresented communities to the stage.
What You Need To Know
- A new theater company aims to bring stories of underrepresented communities to the stage
- The Common Thread Collective is a partnership between Davidson College and North Carolina A&T State University
- Part of this initiative includes an internship with students from both universities
Common Thread Collective, which is housed at Davidson College this summer, is a partnership between Davidson College and North Carolina A&T State University.
Karli Henderson and Mark Sutch from the theater department at Davidson College started the program in collaboration with Greg Horton and Donna Bradby from the visual and performing arts department at N.C. A&T.
The four of them are the artistic producers leading this effort.
“Not only it is a different model to think about a small liberal arts college that is a predominantly white institution partnering with the largest HBCU in the country,” Henderson said, “but also this distributive leadership model is something that a lot of theaters are experimenting with right now.”
The theater company is debuting its first season with two shows: “Violet” and “Barbecue.”
Henderson said the Common Thread Collective also aims to address systemic racism in the arts and the lack of inclusive voices in theater by offering audiences plays with diverse themes, casts and playwrites.
“They come in and see a story about people they might not have met before and they understand a different point of view,” Henderson said.
Four students from N.C. A&T and four students from Davidson College are working for the company as paid interns, including Meredith Iodice and Corin Davis.
They are learning everything behind the scenes, including lighting, set building and making props for both plays. After successful auditions, Iodice and Davis both performed in the musical “Violet,” learning and connecting with professional actors.
In addition, they also created their children’s play “Duck, Duck, Goose.” They’ll continue performing the free play July 16 and July 23 at 11 a.m. at the Cunningham Theater Lawn in Davidson College.
Davis is a professional theater major with a focus on acting at N.C. A&T. She wants to pursue it because it allows her to be herself and give back.
“I also want to be an advocate for young Black girls, and I want them to know that they can do anything they put their mind to,” Davis said.
Iodice is a studio art major at Davidson College.
“This internship is helping me realize I want to do theater after college in some form and hopefully figure out a way to do both art and theater,” Iodice said.
They are both glad for the experience and connections they’ve made.
“We need more love in this world. It’s all about hate and about being separated, but what we really need is love and that’s what it brings us together,” Davis said.
Bradby said the theater company not only benefits the community but also the interns, showing differences don’t have to separate people.
“These students have shown us that regardless of where you’re from, from your background, what you believe in, what you don’t believe in, they can still come together and work as a team,” Bradby said.
Davis and Iodice said this experience also allowed them to form a lifelong friendship.
“I think it’s really cool that we have some different backgrounds and cultures to come together with one common goal, one common passion,” Iodice said.
Tickets are available for “Barbecue,” which will run from July 15 to July 31.
At the end of the season, leaders will assess if Common Thread Collective returns for another season next summer.