ArtsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Duo Get A Cultural Grant For A Groundbreaking Musical

UNC Charlotte Professors Sequina DuBose and Laura Waringer are embarking on an innovative journey, fueled by their recent reception of a Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts & Science Council. This grant, totaling $20,000, serves as a catalyst for their ambitious project: the creation of a groundbreaking musical theatre piece inspired by the historic 1929 strike at the Loray Mill in Gastonia. The announcement of this grant came on December 6, heralding a new chapter in the duo’s artistic endeavors.

Cultural Vision Grants, bestowed upon creative individuals or nonprofit organizations within Mecklenburg County, aim to elevate arts and culture projects that align with key objectives. These objectives include fostering community connections across diverse backgrounds, celebrating and supporting authentic cultures and creative expression, addressing complex community issues through arts, science, and history, and promoting innovation by championing the creation of pioneering works.

Sequina DuBose, a distinguished voice professor, and Laura Waringer, a dynamic theatre professor, jointly helm the Musical Theatre Certificate program. Their collaborative efforts began last spring when they secured a New South | Global South grant from the College of Arts + Architecture. This initial support kickstarted the development of their upcoming musical, titled Threads. The narrative of Threads revolves around Ella May Wiggins, a resilient textile mill worker and single mother deeply involved in the Loray Mill strike, ultimately meeting a tragic fate.

The dynamic duo has curated a diverse and talented creative team for Threads, featuring playwrights and alumni Stacey Rose and Raven Monroe, physical theatre professor Carlos Cruz, and composer Mark Dillon, a renowned songwriting instructor at UNC Greensboro. Intriguingly, the evolution of the musical is seamlessly woven into a spring semester course, culminating in a “work in progress” performance slated for May 8, 2024, at the historical Loray Mill site. This promises to be a poignant and immersive experience, bringing the compelling tale of Ella May Wiggins and the 1929 strike to life through the transformative power of musical theatre.

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