Civic Ensemble Presents
The Class Divide
How does the educational system shape and define who is a successful student?
What: The Class Divide written and directed by Sarah K. Chalmers with Gabriella Patricia Carr in
collaboration with the community
When: September 28- October 8th, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 4:00pm
Where: Lehman Alternative Community School, 111 Chestnut Street, Ithaca, NY
Tickets: Pay What You Can, Recommended: $20, $15, $10 or $5. No one will be turned away if they can’t pay.
Go to civicensemble.org or call 607-241-0195 to buy a ticket.
Contact: Gabriella Patricia Carr - email@example.com - 914.433.3853
Ithaca, NY - Civic Ensemble presents The Class Divide which observes the traditional mainstream public school
education system through the lens of six high school students, their parents, and faculty, as they approach graduation
day. The play begins on the high school seniors’ special day and looks back on seminal moments of their education that
has shaped their various imminent and rather uncertain futures.
The Class Divide deepens the conversation started in On the Corner, Civic Ensemble’s 2015 community-based play
about the origin of race in the United States. While On the Corner investigated race, class, and the origin of race in the
United States, The Class Divide looks at how our current schooling system prepare students for lives of purpose and
fulfillment. Longtime Civic participant Rachel Gould explained, “ After watching my son go from an enthusiastic
kindergartener to an uninterested, unmotivated, and unhappy 4 th grader over the past few years, I find myself
profoundly disappointed in his educational experiences so far. Working with Civic Ensemble and others in the
community on this topic has been an excellent way to explore the many questions related to education, including
“What are we doing wrong?” and “How can we do better?”
The annual community-based play program is the brainchild of Civic Engagement Director Sarah K. Chalmers. The
program began in 2013 with Parent Stories , a collage of stories shared by parents in a series of community story
circles. The material for Safety was gathered in a similar way. On the Corner, was created by participants sharing
stories and developing material for a play that Civic Ensemble scripted. The Class Divide was developed from personal
stories and group theatre games that explored the experiences of young people in the traditional public school system.
When asked why he is participating in The Class Divide, Harry Pruyne said he was “looking for another way to express
myself and was thinking about theatre as a place to do so. As a high school and college dropout, I made big decisions in
my own life based on my experience in public schools. I am finding that this project is aiding me in both reflecting on
that and allowing expression of that in a way that may give life and value to some of that experience .”
Sarah K. Chalmers · Director of Civic Engagement · firstname.lastname@example.org · 917-603-0621
www.civicensemble.org The Civic Ensemble office is in the Worker’s Center above Autumn Leaves on the Commons.
The Class Divide features several cast members who have performed with Civic Ensemble in the past: Sherron Brown,
Heather Duke, Rachel Gould, Ralfy Lawrence, James Schultz, Mitchell Smith and Jason Wilson. Performing with Civic
for the first time are: Alex Clavel, Minsun Fisher-York, Michelle Horvath, Mary Loehr, Harry Pruyne and Will Wallace.
And facilitating the community-based play this year are Director Sarah K. Chalmers and Associate Director Ella Carr of
The Community-Based Play has received funding or in-kind support from the Community Foundation, Community Arts
Partnership, Lehman Alternative Community School, and The Park Foundation.
Civic Ensemble is a non-profit theatre company serving Ithaca and Tompkins County that produces new plays by or
about women and people of color, re-imaginings of classics, and community-based plays that explore and explode the
social, political, and cultural issues of our time. Through the production of plays, after-school and in-school education
programs for young people, and civic engagement programs with Ithaca community members, the company works to
bring audiences of different races, classes, and experiences together in a public forum on the American experiment.
Civic Ensemble is committed to employing Ithaca-based theatre artists whenever possible. It is our vision that theatre
be accessible to all people, onstage and off.