Opera Philadelphia

We Shall Not Be Moved

Watch On-Demand
Through Aug. 31, 2020

We Shall Not Be Moved

Digital Premiere on Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
World Premiere during Festival O17
Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Performed in English with English subtitles
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Opera Philadelphia's first-ever Digital Festival continues with We Shall Not Be Moved. The broadcast premiere will take place on WHYY TV-12 (Comcast 812 & FiOs 512) on Sunday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. The digital stream will premiere on Sunday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. and will be available for viewing through Monday, August 31. Discover more about the Digital Festival

Digital Festival O is generously funded, in part, by


On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philly teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than urgent fear. This World Premiere chamber opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain, an acclaimed composer and performer whose work defies genre, and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, an arts activist known for spoken‐word performance, is “ambitiously interdisciplinary,” according to Bill T. Jones, the celebrated director, choreographer, dramaturge, and dancer. Combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility, We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles which suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.

This broadcast contains some strong language and violence.


Dates are May 2020.

Sun, May 10 7:00 p.m.

The running time is approximately two hours.

Digital Festival O is generously funded, in part, by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation.

Production underwritten by the Wyncote Foundation at the recommendation of David Haas.

Major support for We Shall Not Be Moved has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Additional support is provided by William Penn Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.

Generous commissioning support provided by Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Merrill Lynch, and the Ed Bradley Family Foundation.

The Student Performance of We Shall Not Be Moved has been made possible by the Mazzotti/Kelly Fund-BBH of The Philadelphia Foundation.

Additional production support provided by The Virginia Brown Martin Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.

Co-commissioned and co-produced with The Apollo Theater and Hackney Empire. Developed in partnership with Art Sanctuary.

Presented in partnership with FringeArts as part of the 2017 Fringe Festival.

Cast & Creative Team

Viswa Subbaraman
Viswa Subbaraman *Conductor
Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones *Director, Choreographer & Dramaturg
Lauren Whitehead
Lauren Whitehead *as Un/Sung
Kirstin Chávez
Kirstin Chávezas Glenda
John Holiday
John Holiday *as John Blue
Daniel Shirley
Daniel Shirley *John Little
Adam Richardson
Adam Richardson *as John Mack
Aubrey Allicock
Aubrey Allicock *as John Henry
Michael Bishop
Michael Bishop *as OG
Duane Lee Holland, Jr.
Duane Lee Holland, Jr. *as OG
Tendayi Kuumba
Tendayi Kuumba *as OG
Caci Cole Pritchett
Caci Cole Pritchett *as OG
  • Matt Saunders * Set Design
  • Liz Prince Costume Design
  • Robert Wierzel * Lighting Design
  • Jorge Cousineau Projection Design
  • Robert Kaplowitz * Sound Design
  • Seth Hoff Assistant Director
  • Raphael Xavier * Assistant Choreographer
  • Mike Janney * Stage Manager
  • *Opera Philadelphia debut
Daniel Bernard Roumain & Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Composer & Librettist

Daniel Bernard Roumain & Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Daniel Bernard Roumain's acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga. Learn more about Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Learn more about Marc Bamuthi Joseph.

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