Friday, February 24, 2012

Burning Coal Theatre Company presents 'Two Buildings/One Heart'

Burning Coal Theatre Company teams up with the First Baptist Churches of Salisbury and Wilmington Streets in downtown Raleigh to present a play, “Two Buildings/One Heart: 200 Years of the First Baptists Churches of Raleigh” from Friday through Sunday, March 2 through 4. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4. The first two performances will begin at the First Baptist Church located at 99 North Salisbury St. and the final two performances will begin at the First Baptist Church located at 109 S. Wilmington St. All performances are $10, and tickets may be purchased by calling (919) 834-4001. For more information, visit the website at

About the show
Raleigh was only 20 years old when First Baptist Church was established in 1812 with 23 members: 14 African-American and nine white. Burning Coal Theatre will explore the history of the church and the two congregations it became after the Civil War in a play to be performed Friday through Sunday, March 2 through 4, in the sanctuaries of the two churches, both of which face Capitol Square.
“Two Buildings/One Heart: 200 Years of the First Baptist Churches of Raleigh,” written by Burning Coal Education Director Ian Finley—along with Jerome Davis and Rebecca Wyrick—will bring together Burning Coal actors and a choir of singers from both congregations to tell the story of the churches’ origin and key moments from their histories.
Jerome Davis, artistic director of Burning Coal Theatre Company, said “When the two churches approached us about this, my eyes lit up! I couldn’t think of a more inherently dramatic or worthwhile story to tell. Working with these two congregations has been terrific, and getting to know more about their past histories has been a truly rewarding experience for me.”
Playwright Ian Finley (2012 Piedmont Laureate) was similarly thrilled with the prospect: “The storied history of the churches, spanning 200 years, was a natural fit for dramatization, especially when framed in the actual church buildings themselves.”
Four performances are scheduled. On Friday evening at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., the play will start in the sanctuary at 99 North Salisbury St. The 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday performances will begin in the sanctuary at 109 S. Wilmington St. At each performance, the audience will move to the other church at intermission.
Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling Burning Coal at (919) 834-4001.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is Raleigh's small, professional theater. Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Burning Coal's mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theater that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and international artists available. We work toward a theater of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.

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