Christine King, left, and Tara Weaver during a rehearsal of ‘Of This Place” this summer in Studio 310 at the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center. The production is directed by Matthew Cumbie, visiting assistant professor at Colby College, in collaboration with Jeri Pitcher and José Martinez. Photo by Ashley L. Conti

WATERVILLE — The Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Colby College will premiere its first original work,”Of This Place,” this weekend. The project has been in the works over the last three years.

The free performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the at 4000 Mayflower Hill Drive center. The performance will include Colby students, faculty, staff, and alumni, it also will feature stories and performances from Waterville community members of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

“Of This Place” is directed by Matthew Cumbie, in collaboration with Jeri Pitcher and José Martinez, and will weave together dance, spoken word, original music, projection, and theatrical design elements, and will feature Colby students, faculty, staff and alumni; local and visiting artists; students from the Maine Arts Academy and the Albert S. Hall School; and community members of all ages.
This work has been in development since 2018; alongside collaborations across the Colby campus (from the Departments of Performance, Theater, and Dance and Music to the Colby Libraries and the Arts Office and the Office of Civic Engagement).

The production is an ambitious, multiyear, community-based performance project that surfaces and celebrates the entwined histories and stories of Waterville and Colby College and sheds light and gives a voice to those people and places — past and present — who have powerfully shaped these communities, according to a news release from Colby College.

This story begins with a question. What does it mean to be of this place? It will include stories of the Kennebec River, mill workers, townspeople, women, and more.

Cumbie, a performer and visiting educator at Colby, dedicated the last three years building bridges and forming partnerships through one-on-one interviews, movement workshops, artist residencies, and courses on campus. Waterville’s Albert S. Hall School and Beth Israel Synagogue, the Maine Arts Academy, Waterville Creates, and Colby academic departments, programs, and offices are among his collaborators. He also has hosted various community workshops, open to anyone in the public to assist in the creation of this piece.

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