Union

Playbill art is for “Union: The Musical” coming to the Stevens Center and First Presbyterian Church.

A performance of “Union: The Musical,” set for at 8 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Stevens Center, is sold out, but organizers have made arrangements for overflow audience, up to 900 people, to watch a live stream of the event at First Presbyterian Church, 300 N. Cherry St.

A talk-back with the cast and crew on the stage will follow. The show is free but registration is required at www.faithandculture wsnc.org .

A forum to discuss the themes in the musical will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Union Baptist Church, 1200 N. Trade St. The forum is also free and open to the public, with lunch served afterward to the first 400 people signing up at www.faithandculturewsnc.org/Forum19 .

This is just the second production of “Union,” which is kicking off a 20-city tour.

Written by Gregory Thompson and Amisho Baraka, “Union” is about the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, and how the local community and others, including Martin Luther King Jr., responded: fighting for more humane working conditions and forming a “more perfect union.”

The events were organized by the Flow Foundation, Inc.; the Forum on Faith and Culture; Love Out Loud, a nonprofit group that produces the annual Christmas for the City; and the Union Council, which was formed to bring “Union” to Winston-Salem.

In the program notes, Don and Robbin Flow stated, “Winston-Salem has a multilayered history with many wonderful stories. But like everything in this world, it also has a tragic dimension, primarily around the matters of race and the inequities that have been embedded in and woven through the various spheres of our community. In essence, we have co-existed, on occasion even co-operated, but we have only rarely collaborated, and thus we have never been a single community. ... This play and tomorrow’s (Feb. 9) events ... our attempt to use art as a new window into engaging with this profoundly tragic dimension of our life together. Art offers an avenue to understand the past with a new perspective, to see the present with new eyes, and imagine a different reality for the future.”

Organizers hope the musical and forum will provide a chance to talk about race, equity and justice in our community. Saturday’s forum will include organizations and initiatives that invite people to enter the ongoing conversation about racism in our city and open pathways to collective problem-solving.

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