About the project
Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project, developed by Theater of War Productions, which fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, including activists, youth, teachers, police officers, and concerned citizens from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about race and social justice. Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO, and premiered at Normandy High School, Michael Brown’s alma mater, in September of 2016.
About the play
Antigone by Sophocles
Sophocles’ Antigone is an ancient play about a teenage girl who wishes to bury her brother, Polyneices, who recently died in a brutal civil war. Creon, the new, untested king, has ruled that Polyneices’ body must remain above the earth, and that anyone who breaks this law will be put to death. Antigone openly and intentionally defies his edict, covering her brother’s body with dirt and publicly declaring her allegiance to a higher law, one that transcends that of the state—the law of love. Creon is then forced, by his own political rhetoric, and the by fragile social order that he has barely begun to establish since the civil war, to make an example of his niece, by sentencing her to death. In the process of following through with his own decree, Creon loses everything. At its core, Antigone is a play about what happens when personal conviction and state law clash, raising the question: When everyone is right (or feels justified), how do we avert the violence that will inevitably take place?
Antigone in Ferguson Highlights
"I'm Covered" Antigone in Ferguson Virtual Choir
In this time of violence, outrage, division, and grief, Theater of War Productions is honored to share this virtual offering, performed by the Antigone in Ferguson Choir, directed by composer Phil Woodmore @phil_woodmore, and led by the amazing De-Rance Blaylock @deepopstar, graduate of Normandy High School and teacher of Michael Brown. The singers and musicians featured in this video include educators, students, activists, social workers, members of the faith community, and police officers from St. Louis and New York City who have made the commitment to sing together in order to start powerful, uncomfortable, transformative discussions about race and gender-based violence.
The song, “I’m Covered,” written by Phil Woodmore for the project Antigone in Ferguson, is a healing hymn that comes at the end of the play as a collective response to the violence, outrage, division, and grief that precedes it. "Every night that we sing 'I’m Covered' at the end of the play,” said Ms. Blaylock, “it’s my way of covering my student Michael Brown.” We hope that in watching this video, you feel covered, if not by a higher power, then by the humanity, spirit, and hope at the center of the song.
We offer “I’m Covered” for interpretation and discussion, with the hope that it will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Theater of War Productions
House Seats: Antigone in Ferguson
All Arts / 2019
Experience a powerful fusion of Sophocles’ classic tragedy, Antigone, with live music from a contemporary gospel choir and highly personal community discussion. This multifaceted production explores themes of tragedy, trauma and social justice, and shows us that a 2500-year-old play is still relevant today. The all-star ensemble of actors includes Samira Wiley, Chris Noth and Tamara Tunie. Watch the video.
Duane Foster sings in Antigone in Fergsuon
Wellspring Church, St. Louis, MO / 2016
Crowd on the basketball court
Howard Playground, Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY / 2017
Paul Giamatti playing Creon
Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD / 2017
Mrs. Norma Leggette speaks in the audience during Antigone in Ferguson discussion
Wellspring Church, St. Louis, MO / 2016
Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Duane Foster
Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Marcelle Davies-Lashley
Brooklyn, NY / 2018
Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: De Andrea Blaylock-Johnson
Ferguson, MO / 2018
Antigone in Ferguson, Meet the Choir: De-Rance Blaylock
Normandy High School, St. Louis, MO / 2018
Antigone in Ferguson, Meet the Choir: Willie Wooodmore
St. Peters, MO / 2018
Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Lt. Latricia Allen
St. Louis, MO / 2018
The Healing Power of Greek Tragedy
Smithsonian Magazine / 2017
What About Justice?: Paul Giamatti and Sonja Sohn star in 'Antigone in Ferguson' at Coppin
City Paper / 2017
Read the article
Michael Brown and the Raw Power of ‘Antigone in Ferguson’
The Daily Beast / 2018
A Chorus Remembers Michael Brown in ‘Antigone in Ferguson’
The New York Times / 2018
Michael Brown Sr. served on the panel during the discussion of Antigone in Ferguson. Read the article.
Antigone in Ferguson brings protest theater to Harlem
Time Out / 2018
Missouri Theater Embraces Ferguson Echoes In 'Antigone' Production
NPR / 2016
Antigone in Ferguson - Onassis Festival NY - Antigone Now
Onassis Foundation USA / 2016
Antigone in Ferguson presented at the Onassis Foundation's Festival Antigone Now
Antigone in Ferguson presented at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Nostos Festival
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece / 2017
Political ViolenceActs of Violence
Acts of Violence presents scenes from Seneca's Thyestes, a Roman tragedy that was written during the gruesome reign of Nero, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of political violence upon individuals, families, caregivers, health and human rights advocates, communities, and nations.
Addiction & Substance AbuseRum and Vodka
This project presents a one-man Irish play about a 24-year-old whose life is coming apart, due to drinking, in order to provoke discussions about alcoholism and addiction within diverse communities.
Caregiving & DeathKing Lear Project
The King Lear Project presents streamlined readings of scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear to engage diverse audiences—including older adults, caregivers, and family members—in open, healing, constructive, discussions about the challenges of aging, dementia, and caring for friends and loved ones.