In autumn 2011, the Painted Bride Art Center embarked on a project, funded by the Center’s Theatre program, with Obie-winning director and actor Ain Gordon and Philadelphia-based filmmaker Nadine Patterson. The Bride commissioned Gordon to uncover a piece of neglected history from Philadelphia’s past and write a play centered on this “untold” story. Over the past year, Gordon and Patterson visited countless sites and collections across the city and began to indentify the voices of Philadelphians whose stories have been left out of Old City tours and historical markers.
On October 2, 2012, they were joined by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and historian Phillip Seitz for “Unpacking the 1830s,” a discussion exploring the time period most relevant to the artists’ discoveries and the cultural framework for “If She Stood,” which will receive its world premiere in April 2013. A blog has been created to follow the process at placephiladelphia.com.