Young ArtPlay performers celebrate life of George Washington Carver with original play Feb. 21

In celebration of Black History Month, the talented students of ArtPlay’s Make It Happen Performing Ensemble will perform the original play “The Clever George Washington Carver.”

clever george2Birmingham teens will pay homage to a giant in Alabama history with the premiere of the ArtPlay original play “The Clever George Washington Carver” on Saturday, Feb. 21.

The talented young actors of ArtPlay’s Make It Happen Performing Ensemble will celebrate the life of Carver, who was born into slavery in Missouri but came to Alabama in 1896 and taught at what was then Tuskegee Institute for 47 years. Written and directed by ArtPlay teaching artist Alicia Johnson-Williams, the entertaining and educational play uses poetry, song and dance to pay tribute to this remarkable man, his life and work, and his infinite contributions to science and agriculture.

Two shows of “The Clever George Washington Carver” are set for 10 and 11:30 a.m., in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $9 for children and $11 for adults. Call 205-975-2787 or visit

Carver is well-regarded even outside of scientific and agricultural circles for his research and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, after the post-Civil War Reconstruction monoculture of cotton depleted soil, and later the boll weevil destroyed cotton crops. He advocated planting peanutssoybeans and sweet potatoes, which helped farm families improve nutrition and food security. He developed more than 100 food recipes for peanuts, and more than 100 products made from peanuts for use around the home and farm. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. He later established the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue agricultural research. He died in 1943 and was buried at Tuskegee University.

Two shows of “The Clever George Washington Carver” are set for 10 and 11:30 a.m., in the UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $9 for children and $11 for adults. Call 975-2787 or visit

ArtPlay is the Alys Stephens Center’s home for arts education. ArtPlay will present a Meet the Artist schools show at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 23. The students also have been invited to perform the play at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Student performers in the MIH Performing Ensemble must audition each fall. The program grows each year, and this year’s ensemble is the largest ever. The performers must write, rehearse and perform all year to prepare for their big show, presented each year during Black History Month.

The MIH Performing Ensemble members and their schools are Miriam Ellison of Fultondale Elementary; Impress Jones of Glen Iris Elementary; Stella Jordan of Central Park Elementary; Olivia Scarbrough of Irondale Elementary; Nya Hillyard of EPIC Elementary; Elliott Williams of Clay Elementary; Victoria Wheeler of Hillview Elementary; Bradley O. Seals of Brock’s Gap Intermediate; De’Ja S. Battle of Thompson Sixth Grade Center; Myla Johnson and Zhevyn Jones of Phillips Academy; Zoe Allen and Nia Ellison of Bragg Middle; Indigo Jones of W.J. Christian; Caleb Neverson of Jones Valley; Amina Johnson, Lillian Davis and Talia Moore of the Alabama School of Fine Arts; Lily Cate Gunther-Canada of Hoover High; Judson Janto Jordan of Ramsay High; Keri Kinnell of Holy Family; Classie Childress, Gabbie Wilson and Qualynn Clark of Center Point High; Mikayla Seals and Jason Anthony of Clay-Chalkville High; Destiny Hinton of Thompson High; Benjamin Cane of Crossroads Christian; Danya Jade Harris of McAdory High; and Naln Reed of Saint Aloysius.