Centre to host Bianca Spriggs’ “The Thirteen,” March 19

Posted by Centre News in Campus, News, Norton Center 17 Mar 2015

Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts will host a performance of The Thirteen on Thursday, March 19. The production is a culmination of the College’s Created Equal campus series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the American civil rights movement.

The multi-media performance, created by Affrilachian poet and Cave Canem Fellow Bianca Spriggs, pays homage to 13 black women and girls who were lynched or otherwise violently murdered in Kentucky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The performance includes original poetry by Spriggs, music by 13 Kentucky musicians and photography by Angel Clark.

Spriggs, a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky, began her research on the lives of these 13 women and girls two years ago. She said the stories she has collected are just the beginning of a much larger conversation.

“History is slippery and research is sometimes inconsistent,” Spriggs said. “I know there are more stories or more context to these 13 that I haven’t yet heard that I hope to incorporate down the road.”

Lisa Williams, the director of Centre’s creative writing program, said the inclusivity of different performance elements is just one of the many enlightening features of the production.

“The show is a great example of history and research being brought into creative writing,” Williams said. “Bianca has included poems in the imagined voices of these women based on her research about them, as well as songs and music that incorporate both tradition and invention.

“It’s a creative collaboration that is cross disciplinary, involving music, writing, visual art and cinema,” she continued.

Williams saw the show debut at Transylvania University in 2013 and has worked tirelessly along with the diversity office, Humana funding and Centre’s office of admission to bring the production to the College.

The Thirteen will be performed in Newlin Hall on Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

This performance is free and open to the public.

Learn more about Centre’s Creative Writing Program.

Learn more about Bianca Spriggs and her work.

by Morgan King ’16

(Photo courtesy of Angel Clark)