Preserving Community Stories with Verbal Gymnastics

In March, The L’Enfant Trust hosted two nights of “Community Voices: Historic Preservation in Anacostia,” an interactive playback theater performance and community event with Verbal Gymnastics Playback Theatre Company. Verbal Gymnastics captures the narratives of residents in rapidly changing communities “East of the River” in Washington, DC using innovative forms of theater/storytelling to foster meaningful discussions about race, cultural preservation, heritage, and the effects of economic development.

Performance themes centered on cultural heritage and historic preservation in Anacostia, gentrification, displacement, the pros/cons of living in a historic district, and more. Before and after the performance, guests enjoyed free food from Busboys & Poets, mingled with community members, and learned more about The L’Enfant Trust’s upcoming historic rehabilitation project in Historic Anacostia: Big Green.

During the performance, attendees were asked, “What do you want to protect in your community?” and “What do you love about your community?” Their stories were powerful. Watch the video to hear their stories.

This community event was made possible by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from Phoenix Graphics, Nikki Peele (The Advoc8te/Congress Heights on the Rise), and Busboys and Poets.

Photos and video were produced by LaVan Anderson. Check out more photos from the community event below.

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This event was kindly sponsored in part by:

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