Current Programs Fall 2021

Becoming Muhammad Ali, by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander

Living Literature, now celebrating its 25th year, presents a 30 minute, readers theatre version of Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander, the Kids Reading Across Rhode Island’s 2021 book selection. Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson, two heavy-hitters in children’s literature, join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. 

Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Living Literature presents a 30 minute, readers theatre version of STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, Reading Across Rhode Island’s 2021 book selection.  It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers.

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush

Reading Across RI 2020 chose Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush, for it’s statewide read and Living Literature again created a presentation to supplement the reading experience for this signature program of the Rhode Island Center for the Book.  Two performers will recreate the voices and events of this non fiction book in a 45 minute readers theatre experience. Rising documents the people, communities and ecosystems impacted by sea level rise, and is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.

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25th Anniversary Season

Change in Leadership of Living Literature

After 25 years of founding Living Literature, creating and performing Readers Theatre presentations in schools, libraries and other community venues in CT, MA & RI, I am stepping down, and handing over the reins to Tanya Anderson Martin.  Tanya has been the longest member of Living Literature, other than myself (and even before that has been a delightful presence in my life), and has herself arrived at a place where she has accepted sharing the mantle of Co-Artistic Director for this next year, as a transition into taking over as Artistic Director of Living Literature in 2022.

I am so happy that Tanya has agreed to take the reins of Living Literature.  I started Living Literature in 1996, and Tanya first participated in our ongoing Page to Stage workshops in 2001, at our previous home at the Providence Athenaeum, which led to her first Living Literature presentation in a Rhode Island College Oral Interpretation Class, demonstrating our Readers Theatre process.  From then on she often co-taught our workshops for educators.  She has been an active member in our Banned Books programs in association with the ACLU of RI.  And her longest run has been in our “To Kill A Mockingbird” program she helped create and share at CT & RI schools.  Tanya most recent presence was co-editor and performer of Living Literature’s “Rising” presentation for Reading Across Rhode Island 2020.  In short, she knows and has a passion for this process in every aspect of our activities, and more importantly, while raising four children, still has the energy that I feel is waning in myself.

Living Literature has been a very satisfying part of my artistic life and I have enjoyed the projects and people with whom I have encountered on my reading and performing journey.  I look forward to not only getting back to in person presentations, but to continue to explore sharing our work in this not-to-be-denied electronic world, especially with Tanya Anderson Martin at the wheel.  

Barry Press

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