ALL OF US: A Welcome and Appeal from Dudley Cocke
As one of the nation’s handful of rural professional theaters, Roadside has never wanted to be isolated as a special case, nor has it wanted its rural region of central Appalachia to become separated from the fortunes, or misfortunes, of the rest of the country.
Roadside thinks of itself as an experimental theater. In 1975, we began creating a series of plays dramatizing life in the coalfields from the point of view of Appalachian people; heretofore, our history had been written by scribes of the absentee owners of the national coal corporations. Our history plays were inspired by personal memory, archival research, oral histories, traditional ballads and archetypal stories, and the various forms of our indigenous church services—all re-imagined for the stage and for the here and now.
Once we felt that we had some control over our own Appalachian story, we began looking for opportunities to link it to the stories of other communities struggling for equal opportunity and a respected place in the national chronicle. We reasoned that—by joining stories from particular performance aesthetics, histories, and languages—we could weave new stories for the country to tell itself about itself.
For nearly a half-century now, we've been creating and touring new plays with Southern African American artists, Native American artists in the Southwest, and Puerto Rican artists in the Bronx. Federal and state financial support (our taxpayers' money) for art like Roadside's program of intercultural, cross-geographic exchange has collapsed from 40 years of unremitting political pressure applied by those bent on perpetuating only the elite aspects of western European-derived U.S. culture: art for the few and privileged, rather than for the diverse residents of a Beloved Community.
I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of art in a democracy. We believe it is one potent way you can invest in a healthier future for your children, nieces and nephews, grands, and greats.
Dudley Cocke, Co-founder & Artistic Director
Your generosity will help Roadside continue its ambitious 43-year program of...
WORLD-CLASS FOLK AND TRADITIONAL STORYTELLING AND PERFORMANCE
COMMUNITY CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
LONG-TERM INTERCULTURAL CREATIVE COLLABORATION
YOUTH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
CULTURAL ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION
RURAL-URBAN EXCHANGE AND DISCOURSE