Photos: Darlene DeVita. Instagram: peopleofchelsea
CHELSEA, MA, July 15, 2020— Moved by the heroic ways Chelsea has come together in the face of the pandemic to provide for its residents, Apollinaire Theatre has set out to create an exciting work of art that celebrates the heart of Chelsea: its people.
Apollinaire asked three Chelsea organizations, GreenRoots, The Neighborhood Developers, and the Chelsea Collaborative, to each nominate a Chelsea resident to be the subject of an original play with music, which will be created over the course of one week. Four Chelsea residents— Grace Muwina, Terry & Joe Englen, and Jessica Armijo— will each have their life stories developed into original operettas and presented live over Zoom by a large Apollinaire Theatre creative team!
The Apollinaire Theatre never shies away from a challenge, particularly when it comes to their summer productions. From transforming their actors into a thunderous herd of rhinos (2006 production of Rhinoceros), to transporting audiences to a decimated fairy forest built out of Eastern Salt’s towering salt piles (2018 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Apollinaire goes big for summer.
This summer they are taking on a new Online Challenge: creating a new play a week for three weeks!
Each Sunday, the nominated individual(s) will be interviewed. Over the course of the week, a team of actors, helmed by a director and 3 composers, will create scenes and songs to showcase stories and moments from the person’s life. The performances will be held live online the following Saturday. This 6-day turnaround time from interview to presentation will mimic the exciting process and energy of a 48 hour play festival.
All performances will have interpreters so audience members can listen to the live event in either Spanish or English.
On July 25, meet Grace Muwina (nominated by GreenRoots). Social justice, Wednesday Walks, and a Harvest Supper fit for a 17th century governor, Grace Muwina’s work in the Chelsea community is undeniable. Grace originally hails from Zambia and has lived in Chelsea for 10 years with her husband and two daughters. Caring about her community and wanting to be a part of a community brought Grace to social justice causes and historic preservation in Chelsea, including her volunteer work with Chelsea Community Connections and GreenRoots. Grace is a board member of GreenRoots and volunteers in their social justice programs, particularly those concerning transit, rents, and quality of life.
On August 1, meet Terry and Joe Englen (nominated by The Neighborhood Developers). The Navy, a devastating fire, unexpected sunflowers, and recycling buckets—what’s the connection?—the Englens. Terry and Joe became involved with TND out of concern for their neighborhood. They have lived in Chelsea for 49 years and are active members of the community who have worked for years to improve their neighborhood through grassroots initiatives: meeting neighbors, working on safety, promoting recycling ahead of its time, and adding some gold to the Silver Line by planting sunflowers.
On August 8, meet Jessica Armijo (nominated by the Chelsea Collaborative). Folkloric dancing, the Honduran Consulate, and helping feed up to 2,000 people as part of the pandemic response, on August 8th meet Jessica Armijo. Hailing from Honduras where Jessica danced and toured internationally with Ballet Folklórico Sectur, Jessica has lived in Chelsea— “the first city to open its doors to her”— for 15 years. Jessica’s volunteer work with the Collaborative includes community activism, legislative work, and most recently, managing the food pantry.
Performances of Chelsea People are July 25th, August 1st and August 8th, 2020
Sat. at 8:00/gathering and pre-show begin at 7:30
Tickets are Free! & can be reserved on-line at www.apollinairetheatre.com
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Chelsea Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
This program is also supported by the Chelsea Cultural Council through the Chelsea Heritage Celebrations Grant. The Chelsea Heritage Celebrations Grant program was established by the City of Chelsea and the Chelsea Cultural Council funded by Encore Boston Harbor to support a broad range of cultural events, street fairs, art shows, festivals, and related activities such as: murals, sculptures, and film series that promote the community’s heritage, quality of life, recreation, and cultural activities.
Additional major support was provided by Eastern Salt, and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust, which was established by the late Boston actor Bob Jolly to support local theater artists.
For information and to reserve tickets, please visit www.apollinairetheatre.com.