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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IU Department of Theatre and Drama presents 'Palmer Park' reading as part of Themester

WHAT: Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass under the direction of Jonathan Michaelsen, chair of the IU Department of Theatre and Drama.
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Ruth N. Halls Theatre on the first floor of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
Admission is free, and no tickets are required.

Dec. 1, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As part of Indiana University's first themed semester, "Themester: Evolution, Diversity and Change," the Department of Theatre and Drama will present a staged reading of Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass. Themester is organized and presented by IU's College of Arts and Sciences. The Palmer Park reading is also part of the first-ever Big Ten Common Script Project, a collaborative effort among the theater departments in several Big Ten colleges.

Palmer Park is based on the 1967 race riot in Detroit, which resulted in a mass exodus from the area that came to be known as "white flight." Property values plummeted, and, as funding for school boards was tied to property taxes, schools and students soon suffered from overcrowding and underfunding. In spite of the challenges, a few upper-middle-class school districts embraced racial integration in their neighborhoods and schools.

Palmer Park tells the true story of a neighborhood that tried -- but ultimately failed -- to uphold an "ideal" by determining that the racial makeup of blacks to whites should be 35 percent to 65 percent, respectively.

Palmer Park Director Jonathan Michaelsen, chair of the Department of Theatre and Drama, said that even today, Americans struggle with the issues presented in the play.

"The show is a vision of integration we hope for but hasn't been fully realized," Michaelsen said. "Even with the best of intentions things don't work out. It makes us ponder our blind spots."

The cast consists of graduate students, undergraduates and Breshaun Joyner, artistic ensemble member of the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

For more information about the IU Department of Theatre and Drama, see