Piedmont Laureate presents new project in special Tuesday livestream event

Love in space, at the seashore, in the backyard.
Love in the future, one hundred years ago, and right this very moment.
Love between family, friends, and lovers.
Broken love, silly love, healing love.

It’s all in here. The Declaration of Love Project.

Piedmont Laureate Tamara Kissane and colleague Aurelia Belfield commissioned 11 North Carolina playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”

The pair presents six of the 11 audio pieces in a special appearance on The Clayton Center’s Facebook Livestream on Tuesday, September 29, at 7:00 PM.

A Durham playwright, Tamara’s work has been produced by both hands theatre company, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and Women’s Theatre Festival. Her stage-plays, The New Colossus and Master Builder, were commissioned and performed by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern in 2016 and 2018.  She is the host of Artist Soapbox, a weekly podcast featuring original audio fiction and interviews with Triangle/NC artists about their creative process.

Recorded remotely by local actors, the complete Declaration of Love anthology will be released to the public in podcast form later this year.

This special event is presented by The Clayton Center in collaboration with the North Carolina Arts Council and the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation.

Find a list of the scenes to be included in this presentation here.

“Blood Done Sign My Name” premiers live from Clayton

If you saw our Facebook post this week, you know that our tech crew has been learning a new Zoom approach to virtual performance.

The stage is set for Mike Wiley’s live, virtual Zoom performance of Blood Done Sign My Name. Photo by Tracy Francis.

The Clayton Center is the host site for 12 Zoom showings of Blood Done Sign My Name. The one-man show is performed by N.C. actor and playwright Mike Wiley and is presented by the North Carolina Stage Co. of Asheville.

NC Stage Co. had been looking forward to presenting the show to their Asheville audience live. But when it became clear that the venue might still be closed for the show date, they approached The Clayton Center about ways to use a livestream to deliver the performance. Mike had already been using The Clayton Center stage to record his catalog of performances, so it made sense to work together to bring the show to life. (read more about that project here.)

The Zoom format allows viewers to see Mike perform in real time, while also allowing Mike to see and interact with viewers whose images — in true Zoom box style — are projected onto screens set up in front of the stage.

The first of the 12 performances debuted last evening, September 10. The events continue for three weeks and dates include September 11 through 13, September 17 through 20 and September 24 through 27. Most show times are at 7:30 PM. Sunday performances begin at 2:00 PM, and the September 17 show will start at 8:00 PM.

This event is ticketed by the NC Stage Company. Tickets are available on a Pay as You Wish basis starting at $20 per person. For complete details on this unique Zoom experience, the show and how to purchase tickets, please visit NC Stage Company here.

Benson Chamber streams Sundown in Downtown Concert from Clayton

The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce’s August 27 Sundown in Downtown concert may not have been held in the town’s Singing Grove, but the show did go on.

The virtual concert, which featured the popular band Liquid Pleasure, was livestreamed from The Clayton Center using YouTube.

This collaboration is a wonderful example of how communities throughout Johnston County have come together to support one another during the pandemic.

To watch a recording of the concert, click here.

JCVB blog spotlights livestream series

johnston county visitors bureau logo

Our thanks to the Johnston County Visitors Bureau for spotlighting The Clayton Center’s weekly Facebook livestream concert series on their blog this week.

The JCVB works throughout the year to market all attractions and events in Johnston County. Since the pandemic began, the staff has been working overtime to tell the stories of local businesses, including event venues like ours, and to remind potential visitors of all that JoCo has to offer.

Read the blog about The Clayton Center’s virtual concerts and what our executive director Scotty Henley had to say about the success of the shows here.

Collaboration key to keeping arts accessible in pandemic

The Clayton Center continues to find inventive ways to make use of its resources during the pandemic. The latest is a collaboration with North Carolina based actor and playwright Mike Wiley.

Mike Wiley onstage

The last time Mike performed at The Clayton Center, he was in front of an auditorium full of high school students. Today, he has an audience of six – an audio and a light tech, a videographer, a photographer and two cameramen.

The performance is part of a reimagining of Mike’s catalog of eight documentary dramas into a virtual series that will be available for presenters and educators nationwide.

The stage set up for a Mike Wiley production.

Mike is an acclaimed artist whose mission is to bring educational theatre to young audiences and communities across the country. In the early days of his career, Mike found few theatrical resources to shine a light on key events and figures in African-American history.

Over the past decade, Mike has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Tim Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and The Parchman Hour, an ensemble production celebrating the bravery and determination of the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to desegregate Southern interstate bus travel in 1961.

Mike Wiley on stage at The Clayton center for a recent recording session.

Today is Mike’s fourth video session at The Clayton Center, and he has several more sessions scheduled. He plans to offer the pre-packaged film performances with live real-time streamed performances. An option for interactive audience talkbacks following the presentations will also be available.

Note: This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between The Clayton Center and the North Carolina Arts Council, the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation, Jai Bradford’s Blue Umbrella Entertainment and Mike Wiley Productions.