Through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, REACH (Resources for Education and Action for Community Health) Ambler explored the history, environmental health, and community identity of Ambler, Pennsylvania. A play, The White Mountains, was the culmination of a project that also included a website, exhibit and publication. The entire project was funded through a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institute of Health.

Produced by Ambler’s Barrymore-winning Act II Playhouse, The White Mountains brought together ten Philadelphia playwrights, who developed short plays on Ambler’s past, present, and future. These plays were inspired by interviews Chemical Heritage Foundation staff conducted with Ambler residents, activists, and government officials, and informed by research about Ambler’s history of asbestos production and ensuing environmental effects.  Performed as a sold-out event at Act II Playhouse, The White Mountainsfeatured six actors, live original music, and a post-show conversation among audience members and project participants.  A work of theater, history, and community engagement,The White Mountains is now a model for recording and sharing stories of how a community responds to local environmental issues.

Learn more about it over on the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s website.

Photo by Bill D’Agostino of Act II Playhouse

Category: 2015 - (Past Category) IRL Project of the Year

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