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Life of Biddy Mason explored in performances for students


At Rosenthal Theatre in Los Angeles

Between May 20 and June 1,  the Fountain Theatre’s “Fountain for Youth,”  Inner-City Arts, the Autry Museum of the American West and CounterBalance Theater will present “Biddy Mason,”  with 10 performances for students and two public performances for adults. ‘Biddy Mason’ is a theatrical blend of video projection, music, song, movement and dramatic storytelling that brings an extraordinary story of a Los Angeles citizen to life.  All 12 performances will take place at the Rosenthal Theatre at the Inner-City Arts. The Rosenthal Theatre is located at 720 Kohler St. in Los Angeles. The theatrical production is based on a short story by Dana Johnson and is adapted and directed by Annie Loul. Admission for the production costs $20.

“Biddy Mason” is the dramatized version of the little-known story of Bridget “Biddy” Mason, a former slave, who would become one of the most prominent citizens and landowners in Los Angeles. Mason marched 1700 miles on foot alongside her owner's wagon train from Mississippi to California. Mason petitioned for her freedom and was granted her emancipation in court. After working as a nurse and midwife, she saved her money and became a successful businesswoman. Mason was also a philanthropist and built schools, fed the poor and helped found the First AME Church in Los Angeles. 

“Biddy Mason’s life unfolds from enslavement to entrepreneurship, inspiring audiences young and old,” said director  Anne Loui. “Her tale must be told — particularly to inner-city young people, who feel empowered watching an exceptional woman of color rise from hopelessness and poverty to become a leading citizen of Los Angeles. This production will be the first live, professional performance of a theatrical work for many inner-city students. They will remember this experience all their lives.”

Inner-City Arts was founded in 1989 to bring the benefits of a safe, creative environment to children in downtown neighborhoods, engaging young people in the creative process in order to shape a society of creative, confident and collaborative individuals. The Fountain Theatre's Fountain for Youth includes Fountain Voices which provides under-served schools the opportunity to tell their own stories while engaging with each other through acting games and writing exercises. In addition Walking the Beat is a groundbreaking community-building program that sees cops and kids working together to create theater. 

The Autry Museum of the American West brings together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire our shared future. The Autry presents a wide range of events and public programs including lectures, films, theater performances, festivals and family activities. CounterBalance Theater is a movement-based theater company located on the campus of UC Irvine that constructs physical theater based on great literature.

Two public performances will take place on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, both at 8 p.m. Parking is free in the parking lot across the street from the theater and plenty of street parking. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (213) 627-9621 or visit