Burning Barriers, Building Bridges (B4) Youth Theatre is a performance company founded in 2010 in Liberia, West Africa dedicated to empowering youth to become educated citizens through the arts. Performances span street theatre across the country of Liberia to staged performances at Monrovia City Hall and RLJ Resort where they performed both Hamlet with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London, UK, and Liberia’s own Murder in the Cassava Patch by Bai T. Moore. These performances drew audiences in the hundreds and had an online reach of nearly 10,000 live viewers; however, the “200 Years of Returns” project is the first time the B4YT Liberia team will perform in the United States. B4’s annual Vacation School for the Arts program has trained hundreds of youth across Montserrado, Bong, Grand Bassa, Margibi, and Nimba counties to use music, dance, and drama as tools to share information, spark important discussions, and learn about community needs on contemporary issues such as gender and education, lack of employment, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Their work gained global attention during the Ebola epidemic where, as the first active awareness campaign in Liberia in coordination with UNICEF, youth actors reached 300,000 people through live drama and hosted UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom.
Colonial Williamsburg is the world's largest outdoor living history museum with exhibitions including artisans of trades common in the 18th century practiced in period clothing, exhibition sites of original and reconstructed 18th Century buildings, and theatrical presentations exploring themes relevant to modern audiences. This collaboration focuses on the Museum Theatre Department in the Education, Research, and Historical Interpretation (ERHI) Division at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Primary contact and collaborator is The Artistic Director of museum theater, Katrinah Lewis, who works with actor interpreters who portray thoroughly researched 18th century people of the past and devise theatrical programming to illuminate aspects of their lives and culture. These programs include first-person interpretations that portray characters such as the US founding fathers and also devise contemporary theater to portray the stories of those who are less often told. In 1926, the Reverend Dr. William Archer Rutherfoord Goodwin, with the financial backing of John D. Rockefeller Jr., began to restore Williamsburg to its original colonial state, starting with the purchase of the historic Ludwell-Paradise House. Today, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area houses restored and historically preserved buildings, 88 of which are originals, upholding our educational mission, “That the future may learn from the past” through immersive, authentic 18th-century experiences and programming for our guests. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational institution.