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Department of Theatre and Dance

UW Theater and Dance Season Continues With Immigration Piece

Nov. 10, 2009 -- The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance continues the 2009-2010 production season with the premiere of "Six Songs From Ellis," Nov. 17-21 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the show, on the Fine Arts Center Main Stage, cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. For tickets and information call (307) 766-6666 or go online at

Co-directed by UW faculty members John O'Hagan and Marsha Knight, "Six Songs from Ellis" tells the stories of child immigrants who passed through Ellis Island during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Each song represents a different stage of the immigration experience, with dance interwoven into the stories.

Knight, who also choreographed and conceived the piece, was inspired by a trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in the 1980s.

"For the first time, I heard small snippets of the oral histories included in museum displays, and I considered the idea of incorporating the voices in a theatre/dance piece," says Knight. "The humor, sorrow, gratitude and depth of experience of these voices stayed with me for two decades."

The piece represents 39 individuals whose experiences stuck with Knight through the years.

The Nov. 19 and 20 performances will be followed by a presentation by Barry Moreno, librarian and historian at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York.

"Moreno is indisputably the authority on the history surrounding the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island," says Kathy Kirkaldie, Fine Arts programs coordinator.

During the peak years of passage (1892-1924), more than 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island.

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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