Higher Ground, a part of the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Appalachian Program, was thrilled to announce its 9th community performance, Shift Change. The original musical drama, created in the past year(2019-2020) by people in Harlan County in collaboration with guest artists, was based on interviews collected by SKCTC students and community members. Shift Change used story and song to process the events of that past year. The family-friendly play explored Harlan’s African-American history, in particular the Georgetown community, and included a discussion of a Black Lives Matter rally in Harlan in June 2020 and the role of law enforcement in the community. The play also explored the community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shift Change was directed by Keith McGill of Louisville. SKCTC theater professor Kate Handzlik was the assistant director and stage manager. SKCTC music professor Ryland Pope and Harlan-based band The
Kudzu Killers created the original musical arrangements. Chicago-based Kevin Iega Jeff choreographed the play with support from
Kaitlyn Skidmore Patel. Aerial dance by Sierra Hatfield and Bridgett Howard. Maranda Marie DeBusk of Atlanta is Lighting Designer and
Cassidy Wright was Production Designer. Will Major coordinated video production. Over seventy-five community members were involved in the production of Shift Change.
Show dates were April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 at 7:30 pm at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Harlan campus, 164 Ballpark Rd. Harlan, KY 40831. The production was staged outdoors with some actors and musicians pre-recorded and presented onscreen and some live. Attendees had the option to sit socially distanced or watch from their vehicles. Masks were required of all patrons.
Support for Shift Change and Higher Ground comes from Brook and Pam Smith, AlternateROOTS, and Dr. Vic Adams and the SKCTC administration.