IRT presents civil rights play


The Indiana Repertory Theatre will present Christopher Paul Curtis’ award-winning youth historical fiction novel, “The Watsons Go To Birmingham — 1963.”

Adapted by playwright Cheryl L. West, the civil rights-era family drama will run Feb. 1 to March 1 on the IRT Upperstage.

Set in the 1960s on the edge of the actual historical tragedy of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, the story follows a fictional African American family as they travel from Michigan through the Deep South, where they end up navigating the prejudice and violence encountered by black people in Jim Crow America.

Told through the perspectives of the three young children, the multigenerational story is a warm look at family love and a moving exploration of the effects of racism on youth and communities.

Directed by Mikael Burke, the production is the second in IRT’s new INclusion Series, which celebrates diverse storytelling, and this season focuses on the Native American, African American and Chinese American experiences.

Each public performance throughout the run will have a post-show discussion led by cast members, staff or various community organizations, including the Central Indiana Community Foundation.