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Keene State Theatre Presents Turning the Tide at the Redfern

Keene State students Ryan Demers (left), Taylor Ewing, and Brett Burkhardt rehearse  Turning the Tide.
Keene State students Ryan Demers (left), Taylor Ewing, and Brett Burkhardt rehearse Turning the Tide.

KEENE, N.H., 10/26/2010 - The Keene State College Theatre Department presents Turning the Tide on Wednesday, November 17, through Saturday, November 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Redfern Arts Center’s Main Theatre. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for seniors and youth, and $6 for KSC students.

Inspired by a recent campus-wide sustainability initiative, Turning the Tide uses performance to address issues related to the global water supply. The show was created by KSC theatre faculty member PeggyRae Johnson and visiting professor from Ghana Francis Nii-Yartey, who developed the script in close collaboration with the student performers. Using an innovative blend of theatre and interpretive dance, Turning the Tide offers a powerful, extensively researched story about the Earth’s most precious and fragile resource.

The show opens with Mother Nature (represented as a mystical goddess who enters riding a peacock) overhearing a conversation between three young people who are debating the value of the natural world. To instruct these humans, Mother Nature calls upon the help of Poseidon to transport them across the globe, where they witness the state of Earth’s water supply. The play shifts across several real-life environmental disasters, from oil spills in Africa to massive floods in Pakistan to the Pacific Trash Gyre, the world’s largest trash island. In the process, the three transported teenagers realize the breathtaking necessity and fragility of the natural world.

Much of the setting in Turning the Tide is represented by dancers, who use their bodies to illustrate the world’s oceans and their pollutants. The dances are choreographed by Nii-Yartey, an internationally recognized choreographer whose work often focuses on issues relating to the environment and global community. Nii-Yartey and Johnson began working on the script for Turning the Tide last March, and have continued to revise it during the rehearsal process with input from the cast. A primary goal of the production, says Johnson, is to “build awareness” about threats to the planet’s water supply, in the hopes of galvanizing action to protect the environment. To save paper, the program notes for Turning the Tide will be projected on a screen by the lighting designer for audiences to read as they enter the theatre.

Tickets and information are available at the Redfern Arts Center box office, 603-358-2168, or online at, where you can also view many video clips from the season’s Visiting Artists repertoire. Special memberships with many discounts and other benefits, including free tickets, are also available at the Redfern box office or online.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435