Courtney Surmanek

              



Performance Stills: Rachel Weis; Installation Photo & Video: David Franusich 

The Race 2020 and The Civility Project


While the global pandemic and the enduring harm of white supremacy magnifies challenges that lie ahead, the power of art promises to uplift, unite and disrupt. What can we build together in this immense time of culture shift? What can we build together when we contend seriously and healthily with our hopes, dreams and fears?

The Civility Project is a hub for skills-sharing and experimentation in civil dialogue and community trust building. Through workshops offered to community groups and schools, and the development of the play The Race 2020 in Southwest Virginia, we seek to better equip ourselves and our community to make decisions, and to build consensus around polarizing topics.

The Race 2020, originally developed and created by Sojourn Theatre is an interactive live-streamed performance that combines spectacle and collaborative conversation to interrogate the state of our democracy. The production blends performance, call and response, question and answer, dance and karaoke into a participatory, highly choreographed and at times improvised exploration.

This productionʼs adaptation is developed and created by Te’Asya Hudson, Keith Patrick McCoy, Diksha Pilania, Courtney Surmanek, Rachel Weis, and Taylor Wood in collaboration with our ensemble and creative team. The Race 2020 in Southwest Virginia is just one of many iterations of Sojourn Theatre's The Race being performed around the country. Learn more about this national partnership here. The Race 2020 in Southwest Virginia was made possible in part by a grant and extensive mentorship from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

Read the playbill here for a full list of creative team members and reflections on our hybrid online and in-person process.