A performance to honor people impacted by cancer, “Raising Our Voices” Oct. 29-30 at UAB

UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine and Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater will present this original work created with Birmingham community members affected by cancer.

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ROV.2This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.Stories from Alabamians impacted by cancer have shaped an original dance work that will be performed Oct. 29-30 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine and critically acclaimed Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, a Minneapolis-based performing arts company, will present “Raising Our Voices: Stories of Cancer told through Movement, Music and Voice.”

“Raising Our Voices” is an innovative movement and storytelling project for people impacted by cancer. The performances, free and open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. each night in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Sirote Theatre. Register online to attend. This project is sponsored by the Women’s Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in partnership with Forge Survivorship Center. 

The production was originally in the works in early 2020, for a March 2020 performance co-funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The project, with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and 25 members of the Birmingham community, ended abruptly March 14, 2020, due to the pandemic. 

Participants and SPDT company members are thrilled to finally share the original performance piece that is based on their stories of how cancer has affected them. The work was created to honor individuals impacted by cancer and their willingness to share their journeys of healing, hope, longing and loss.

For three days, the company’s artistic directors met with more than 100 people locally to introduce the concept and generate interest in participation. Through the creation and rehearsal process, participants and SPDT company members created the original performance piece based on their stories.  

“It seems that cancer impacts everyone at some point in their lives,” said Suzanne Costello, co-artistic director of SPDT. “We intend this project to embolden and express those experiences.”  

On Monday, Oct. 18, Costello and cast members will be the guests for Virtual Mental Health Monday: “Raising Our Voices”, at noon via Zoom. Hear about their experiences, including creating the project, what it is like to reunite after almost two years, the healing power of a creative community and the process of sharing one’s cancer story through performance. Register online.  

Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater is recognized by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a “National Model” for community programs, and the National Endowment for the Arts for “Best Practices” in the field of arts and health. For more than 35 years, SPDT has garnered critical acclaim for its compelling and poignant performance work and commitment to community-inclusive programming. 

This residency and performance are made possible with support from UAB’s Visual and Performing Arts, AIM, UAB Medicine, SPDT, the Community Foundation for a Greater Birmingham Women’s Breast Health Fund, Forge Survivorship Center, and the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theatre.