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Higher Ground to perform original Harlan County drama Talking Dirt at EKU April 9th

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The Center for Appalachian Studies at Eastern Kentucky University will present an original community musical drama, Higher Ground 3: Talking Dirt, Monday April 9th, 2012 at 6:00PM in the auditorium at the Student Services Building on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky.

Talking Dirt features a cast of forty musicians and actors from Harlan County, Kentucky and includes twelve musical numbers including soul, country, folk, bluegrass, and gospel songs as well as new songs by the production company. The play explores issues related to mining and decisions about the land. The play includes Kentucky coalfield migration stories, stories of young people deciding whether or not to leave the coalfields, and stories related to coalfield ethnic diversity. Talking Dirt also examines the way people talk to one another, the stories that are easily told, and those that are sometimes avoided. The house band for Higher Ground 3: Talking Dirt is The Kudzu Killers, who will also do a half-hour of music immediately before the curtain.

Talking Dirt was created from stories collected locally by Harlan County community members, primarily students at Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College (SKCTC. The play is produced by the SKCTC Appalachian Program and Carpetbag Theatre, Inc., an ensemble theater company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Visiting artists collaborating with SKCTC Appalachian Center staff on the original production which premiered in Cumberland in the spring of 2011 include: director Robert Martin, assistant director Pamela D. Roberts, and choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff. Linda Parris-Bailey is the playwright and executive director of Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. SKCTC Appalachian Program staff Robert Gipe and Theresa Osborne worked on the script and serve as executive producers for Talking Dirt. SKCTC professor of music Ann Schertz is the productions music director. SKCTC theater director Michael Corriston designed the sets.

Talking Dirt is the third production in the Higher Ground series. The two previous plays, Higher Ground and Playing With Fire, were also produced by the SKCTC Appalachian Program. All the Higher Ground plays try to involve as many community people as possible, and celebrate the strength, talent, wisdom, spirit, courage, and heart present in the local community. The plays have been featured in a Kentucky Educational Television documentary entitled Finding Higher Ground.

The event at Eastern Kentucky University is free to the public, although a $5 donation to support the travel and expenses of the cast is suggested and appreciated. Reservations are recommended. For more information about the production, contact Robert Gipe at (606) 589-3130