Opera Philadelphia

Roumain / Joseph

We Shall Not Be Moved We Shall Not Be Moved videoPlayWatch

We Shall Not Be Moved

World Premiere
Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
American Repertoire Program
Performed in English with English supertitles

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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.

MapThe Wilma Theater

Sat, Sep 16 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Sep 17 8:00 p.m.
Mon, Sep 18 8:00 p.m.
Thu, Sep 21 8:00 p.m.
Sat, Sep 23 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Sep 24 8:00 p.m.

Approximately two hours and five minutes, including one 20 minute intermission

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, 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.

WURD is the Official Radio Partner of We Shall Not Be Moved

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.

Cast & Creative Team

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
  • 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
  • Megan Coutts * Assistant Stage Manager
  • Anna Reetz * Assistant Stage Manager
  • *Opera Philadelphia debut
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