News Archive

Original drama opens at Cumberland Campus on April 29.

A new original community musical drama, Higher Ground 3: Talking Dirt, will open April 29th, 2011 at the Godbey Appalachian Center on the campus of Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky.

Talking Dirt features a cast of seventy local musicians and actors and sixteen musical numbers including soul, country, folk, bluegrass, and gospel songs as well as new songs by local songwriters. The play includes stories of how people have come and gone from Harlan County, stories of young people deciding whether or not to leave the county, and stories related to Harlan Countys ethnic diversity. The play remembers lost communities and explores issues related to mining and decisions about the land. Talking Dirt also examines the way people talk to one another, the stories that are easily told, and those that are sometimes avoided.

The play was created from stories collected locally by community members, primarily students at Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College. The play is produced by the Appalachian Program at SKCTC and Carpetbag Theatre, Inc., an ensemble theater company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Visiting artists collaborating with SKCTC Appalachian Center staff include: director Robert Martin, assistant director Pamela 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. Performances of Talking Dirt will take place on April 29th and 30th, and May 5th and 7th at 7:30 PM. Music will begin at 7:00 PM for these shows. There will also be two Sunday afternoon performances, on May 1st and 8th at 3:00 PM with music at 2:30 PM. All performances will take place at the Godbey Appalachian Center on the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Tickets are $4 for adults, $2 for children under 12. To reserve tickets, call (606) 589-3148 or email For more information about the production, contact Robert Gipe at (606) 589-3130 or