Triad Stage (Greensboro, NC)

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          Actors on stage kneeling in front of an opening in the stage with water, as a stream

The Triad Stage’s production of Preston Lane's Brother Wolf, which featured live music for each performance. Photo by Nyght Falcon Photography

Deeply rooted in and devoted to its southern community and cultural heritage, Triad Stage, Piedmont Triad region’s largest professional theater, turned to the Appalachian part of the state for a 2006 presentation.

In FY 2006, Triad Stage received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $10,000 for the development of Preston Lane’s Brother Wolf, which celebrates the region’s Appalachian culture. Loosely based on Beowulf, the play combines dance and folklore from the Southern Appalachians and features original mountain music by Laurelyn Dossett, performed live for each performance. "[L]ive music plays a pivotal role at just the right moments," wrote Ken Keuffel of the Winston-Salem Journal. "It reinforces the play’s spiritual underpinnings." Running from March 12–April 2, 2006, and attended by more than 6,000 individuals, Brother Wolf was one of Triad Stage's most well attended productions in its history. The production also accomplished one of the organization’s primary goals -- to attract new audiences from the rural communities in the Piedmont Triad.

To enhance their audience’s knowledge of Appalachian heritage, Triad Stage held post-performance talkbacks with the artists, arranged for a noted scholar to discuss Appalachian culture, and developed an art exhibit related to Appalachia. For high school students in Guilford County, Triad Stage offered free scripts, study guides, in-class artist visits, and free tickets to evening performances of Brother Wolf.

By integrating productions into its season that focus on the heritage and culture that is such a strong part of the region’s history, Triad Stage is actively working to introduce more people to theater and create a broader and more diverse audience.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)