SHOUT! Opens in Richmond
For further information please contact:
Military Kid Art Project
2600 Hull St. Richmond VA 23224
Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center
546B State Route 333, Tijeras, NM 87059
Real stories from real people:
LGBTQ+ Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services.
Playwright and Director: Melissa Rayford
Producers: Lora Beldon and DeeJay Gray
SHOUT! is an ensemble production which includes compilations of true LGBTQ+ Military Family stories – from multiple generations and military branches, spanning rank, race, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Sponsored by the New Mexico-based Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center (MAMF), SHOUT! is a collaboration between Lora Beldon, Director of Military Kid Art Project, the Transgender Veterans Support Group of Richmond, and TheatreLab. Funding for the project came through a generous grant by the ARCUS Foundation.
SHOUT! The play began as one story told by Theresa Duke, a trans-woman veteran for the museum’s anthology, SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth: An Anthology of Writing by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services. Lora Beldon, MAMF Artist-in-Residence, and MAMF Director Circe Olson Woessner were the anthology’s co-editors.
That piece, titled Inner Voices, had such strong descriptive dialogue, editors Beldon and Woessner agreed the story would translate well on stage. The play quickly grew to include many voices and stories from LGBTQ+ Military personnel and families and evolved into SHOUT! the play.
Beldon says, “MAMF has done, and is doing, pioneer work in telling the story of the LGBTQ+ military veteran and family members through exhibits and publications at the museum and out in the community. Dr. Woessner is a visionary, who has maintained from the beginning that the museum would tell the stories of ALL military families and be inclusive of all.
Shared stories are what help build and define our identity, shared stories are what help communities learn from each other, and by listening to these particular stories, people who haven’t experienced what LGBTQ veterans or their families have– just their listening and learning is a gift.”
Playwright Melissa Rayford seamlessly wove together multiple stories contributed by service members, military spouses, brats, and allies into a strong, thought-provoking and poignant piece. Five Richmond actors, assuming multiple roles, bring the piece to life. Shout! is at once funny, sad, defiant, and whimsical.
One story’s author shares, “Those fantasies of aliens coming down from space to switch your body with the neighbor girl’s body, those were mine.”
Woessner says, “This play is exceptionally timely because of recent announcements from the White House regarding transgender citizens serving in the military, and the subsequent legal and political actions around that; and it also discusses how the military impacted the lives of LGBTQ spouses and children. As always, we want to focus on family stories.”
Ambitious future plans are in the works for Beldon and Woessner: to package the play for greater circulation and to create educational materials based on LGBT military history and stories in the play. Playwright Mellissa Rayford says, “It is our hope as a group that we create a production to be used by any theatre group wishing to produce this subject matter.”
SHOUT! will be traveling to Boston and to Albuquerque in late 2019.
TheatreLab, located in The Basement, 300 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219, is known as Richmond’s home for unexpected and evocative performances. Link for tickets: https://tlab-internet.choicecrm.net/templates/TLAB/#/events
Sunday, September 22 and Monday, September 23, 2019. Each night doors open 7:00pm, General admission Tickets $20. There are discounts available for pre-sale, students, teachers, military and senior all with ID.