What do you get when you pair notable Birmingham directors with phenomenal local actors from Samford Arts and Miles College? Two dynamite productions you won’t want to miss! We spoke with directors from Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Oct. 28-31) and A Christmas Carol, the musical (Dec. 2-5) to find out what they’re all about and why locals will love them. Tickets available now.
Crumbs from the Table of Joy
Crumbs from the Table of Joy is one of several collaborative initiatives between Samford University and Miles College. Chalethia Williams, Theatre Instructor at Miles College, serves as Guest Director of the play.
Williams is a Birmingham native with an accomplished resume in film, television and theatre. She also has a plentiful history of plays involving racial justice during the 1960s in Birmingham and beyond.
Crumbs from the Table of Joy travels back to the 1950s in Brooklyn, New York. The world is undergoing a time of change, and racial tensions in the US are on the verge of spilling over. A coming-of-age story, the audience follows the memories of Ernestine, a 17-year-old African American, and the ways in which her family finds peace after the loss of her mother.
“[Crumbs from the Table of Joy] has themes of families and not just black and brown. Some of which include family issues with displacement, psychological effects of change, bridging cultural divides and grieving and bereavement.”Chalethia Williams, Guest Director, Crumbs from the Table of Joy
The cast features four Miles College graduates and one Samford student. Samford students have also been working behind the scenes creating the set design, costumes, lighting and other aspects of the production.
- Shamia Buchanan: Ernestine Crump (Daughter)
- Camellia Brownlee: Ermina Crump (Daughter)
- Cameron White: Godfrey Crump (Father)
- Lashonda Corder: Lily Ann Green (Aunt)
- Danielle Elle Brown: Gerte Schule (Stepmother)
A Production for All
Though Crumbs from the Table of Joy is set during the oncoming of the Civil Rights Movement, Williams said the play’s universal themes make it a story everyone will enjoy.
“What makes it distinct is that the playwright, Lynn Nottage, wrote the story as she envisioned it in her mind, with black/brown characters. I could see it cast with any other race and it would be just as relevant with many of the same issues.
She also added some historical facts in the script and intertwines them with the lives of the characters. For me, it shows how we are all connected by situations and circumstances.”Chalethia Williams, Guest Director, Crumbs from the Table of Joy
Bonus, the play is held in Samford’s newly-renovated Harrison
Samford’s Department of Theatre and Dance opened the 21-22 season in the newly renovated Harrison Theatre with the theatre for youth production of The Wind in the Willows. The renovations have enhanced the audience experience with new seats, accessibility platforms for all guests, better acoustics and numerous behind-the-scenes improvements.
“We are excited to welcome guests back on campus this year to see our productions and the work of our students. It is an added bonus to have them come and enjoy these fantastic upgrades to the theatre.”Mark Castle, Chair and Professor, Samford’s Department of Theatre and Dance
What: Crumbs from the Table of Joy—presented by the Michael J. and Mary Anne Freeman Theatre and Dance Series
When: Thursday-Saturday, October 28-30, 7:30-9PM | Sunday, October 31, 2:30-4PM
Where: Samford University, Harrison Theatre, 800 Lakeshore Dr, Birmingham, AL 35229
Price: Students – $10 | Adults – $20
There’s more events ahead for Samford Arts. Check out their calendar here.
Plan ahead for A Christmas Carol, the musical
There’s more ahead for Samford Arts. Begin your holiday season with a classic—A Christmas Carol, the musical.
“[The musical] felt like a wonderful fit for several reasons: in a pandemic ridden Birmingham, it felt like a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas together as a community and appreciate the people we have in our lives.
We also wanted a large show with many featured roles and dancing to give our students the opportunity to perform in a large way after two years of canceled or highly-altered performances.”Chelsea Nicholson, Director, A Christmas Carol, the musical
What unique elements will Samford Arts bring to the classic tale?
“I think what Samford Arts brings to this classic story is a high level of talent in its students, not only on stage, but behind the scenes.
We will also have a full orchestra provided by the fabulous School of the Arts orchestra conducted by Dr. Brian B. Viliunas.”Chelsea Nicholson, Director, A Christmas Carol, the musical
What: A Christmas Carol, the musical——presented by the Michael J. and Mary Anne Freeman Theatre and Dance Series
When: Thursday-Sunday, December 2-4, 7:30-9PM | Sunday, December 5, 2:30-4PM
Where: Samford University, Wright Center, 872 Montague Dr, Birmingham, AL 35229
Price: Students – $10 | Adults – $20