Stories in Community

Using her training as a theater artist, a storyteller, and a preacher’s daughter (listening to her elder’s stories), as well as her passion for history, Mary is well regarded for her ability to gather the oral histories of a family, an organization or a community and weave them together into an original production that retells the greater tale using the personal stories.

Mary is available to help you capture your own stories, and those of your family, organization and community.  As a free-lance writer/playwright she can help shape them, edit them, and prepare a performance piece or written work telling your organization’s history through the first person stories of the folks who have lived it.

She has been project manager, story-gatherer, playwright and director for three community-based projects:

  • JOURNEY:  Dream of the Red Pavilion at Touchstone Theatre in April of 2014.  As project manager, playwright and director, Mary worked with the Touchstone Ensemble and a class from Lehigh in Chinese studies to gather the stories of the local community dealing with the recent influx of Chinese tourists.  The project expanded to include the wider experience of the local Chinese community.  Incorporating traditional stories, personal stories, tai-chi and Chinese opera movement styles the production plays in the grey areas between storytelling and theater.  Featuring the professional actors at Touchstone, local members of the Chinese community as well as some of the Lehigh students involved in the class, this production is aimed at helping the local community have a conversation on what it means to be a community, who belongs and who gets to say.
  • If That Building Could Talk: the Willson Project at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. Mary was project manager, playwright and performer in this one-woman show retelling the history of the 150 year old building through the stories of the people who worked there. It was funded partially through grants from the National Storytelling Network (NSN), the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC). (2005-07)
  • The SouthSide Experience  while a member of Touchstone Theater’s Ensemble, Mary was project director, playwright and director for a two-year oral history project that retold 100 years of history of the neighborhoods in the shadow of Bethlehem Steel through the personal stories of those who lived it. The project was supported in part by grants from the PCA and PHC. (Originally produced in 2002 and 2004)