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Free Showings of Shipyard Play at Nevin Community Center

The pre-Home Front Festival events are beginning to surface bringing some exciting days of theater ahead for Richmond.

“The World In Her Hands" will play at 3:00 PM on September 5, 6 and 7 at the Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Avenue (at 6th Street). All performances are FREE.

On Labor Day Weekend Berkeley's Shotgun Players will give 3 performances of Bay Area-born playwright, Marcus Gardley's original play, "The World In Her Hands," (see attachment).  These are afternoon shows with dinner, all at no charge (first come, first served).  Then, on the evening of August 28th, Kathy McCarty's "Rivets" will return to the Red Oak Victory with a repeat performance the following weekend.  These shows will usher in the 3rd Annual Home Front Festival season the leads to the first weekend in October when there will be activities for the whole family in the Craneway Pavilion, at the Red Oak Victory, and at Lucretia Edward Park and the Rosie the Riveter Memorial.   (See the Richmond Chamber of Commerce website for

the complete listing of events.)

Gardley grew up in the Bay Area, attended eastern schools, is currently teaching at Amherst College and Columbia University.  He returned to spend the summer completing work on this play and planning its staging.  He is the recipient of a scholarship to Yale University to perfect his craft, as well as a Eugene O'Neill scholarship and many prestigious awards for his work in the theater arts.

"World" features music by Molly Holm, of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra, and Marcus Shelby (Port Chicago Suite), composer and jazz bassist. A few months ago I attended to final read-through before formal rehearsals began.

Seeing the emergence of this work through the great performances by a cast of racially-diverse female actors  (3 African American, 1 Latina, 3 European American) who were able to interpret the work of the grandson of a "Rosie" was truly moving.  The play spans time from the era of WWII to life in the Iron Triangle today.  I'm certain that all who live in this historic areas will be deeply touched by the many themes that are woven into this imaginative play.

I heartily recommend that everyone see these plays.

Betty  Soskin


Betty Reid Soskin, Cultural Resources Assistant Rosie the Riveter WWII/Home Front National Historical Park

2566 Macdonald Avenue, Richmond, California 94804

Phone:  510.307.8702 x 21







July 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      



THIS WORLD IN  A WOMAN’S HANDS By Marcus Gardley Original music & Vocal score by Molly Holm Created under the direction of Aaron Davidman Live Performance by bassist Marcus Shelby

Berkeley—From every corner of the country the women came. They hung up their house dresses and buttoned their coveralls. For the first time women of all races were emerging in the American mainstream as a vital workforce. But it wasn’t easy, especially for an African-American woman making her way. The whole story began right here in Richmond’s Henry Kaiser Shipyards, with the WWII Victory warships and the women who put everything on the line to build them. This World in a Woman’s Hands previews September 10th and 11th, Opens Saturday, September 12th, and runs through October 18th at The Ashby Stage.

 In this original play commissioned and developed by Shotgun Players, playwright and former Richmond resident Marcus Gardley explores the stories of the women who toiled in the shipyards. 1941 was a vital turning point in Bay Area History, when Richmond became the location for a wartime industrial complex dominated by the 4 largest and most productive shipyards in the entire world. The city's population boomed from 23,000 to over 108,000 and women were recruited to do "men's work" becoming collectively known as "Rosie the Riveter." We all know the image: the proud white woman flexing her muscle with the phrase "We Can Do It". An image you rarely see, however, is of the hundreds of African American women who also took part in the war effort. As an African American playwright, Mr. Gardley was drawn to the story because his grandmother came from the South herself to work in the Richmond Shipyards.

 In 2006, Shotgun Players created Love is a Dream House in Lorin, a play based on the history of the Lorin District, the area around our theater in South Berkeley. Also written by Marcus Gardley, Lorin took a new look at how families struggle to overcome the obstacles that have become synonymous with “American”.  Weaving together two hundred years of the history of South Berkeley, Mr. Gardley also explored such controversial issues as gentrification, racism, gangs and drug use.  Yet he also managed to convey a profound sense of hope for the future, and a palpable sense of community. While conducting research fro Lorin, Mr. Gardley met several other women who spent World War II in the Richmond Shipyards. After interviewing these inspiring women, Mr. Gardley turned to Shotgun Players Artistic Director Patrick Dooley and said: "this will be the NEXT play."

Playwright Marcus Gardley was born and bred on the rolling hills, lively churches, and moody-blue streets of Oakland, California. He is now a professor of African-American Theater at UMass Amherst. A recent recipient of the prestigious Helen Merrill Award for playwrighting, Gardley has received commissions from the Yale Repertory Theatre, Playwright’s Horizon, The Shotgun Players, South Coast Repertory and Second Stage Theatre. He is the recipient of the Bay Area Playwrights Fellowship Foundation Award, the Eugene O’ Neil Memorial Scholarship and the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2004 and he is a proud member of The New Dramatists in New York City.

 This World In A Woman’s Hands will be directed by Aaron Davidman with original music and vocal score by Molly Holm. Costume Design by Valera Coble, Set Design by Lisa Clark, Light Design by Richard Olmsted, Properties design by Sarah Lowe.

 The cast of This World in A Woman’s Hands features Laura Evans, Rebecca Frank, Margo Hall, Gwen Loeb, Dena Martinez, Liz T. Rogers-Buckley, Dawn L. Troupe, Beth Wilmurt & Kathryn Zdan.   Live acoustic bass will be played by the one and only Marcus Shelby. Mr. Shelby is an award winning composer, arranger, educator and bassist working in San Francisco. Noted works include Port Chicago, a fourteen-part suite based on the event of July 17, 1944, when a massive explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Base (near Oakland, California) killed more than 320 men, most of them African-American sailors, and injured some 400 others. This was by far the worst disaster on US soil during World War II. In 2004 Shelby was commissioned by the Equal Justice Society to create this extended jazz work written in collaboration with Robert L. Allen, author of The Port Chicago Mutiny. The piece was performed for the first time at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland.   CALENDAR LISTING  WHAT:  The Shotgun Players are proud to present an entirely new take on the epic story of the WWII Victory warships and the African-American women who put everything on the line to build them. With live acoustic bass by Marcus Shelby, This World In A Woman's Hands depicts and celebrates a vital turning point in Bay Area history.

 WHEN: Previews Thursday, September 10th. Opens Friday, September 11th. Runs Thursday – Saturday at 8PM, Sundays at 5PM through October 18. Wednesday performances at 8PM begin September 23rd.


 WHERE: The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley.   TICKET PRICES:  Opening Week Performances September 10, 12 & 13 are Pay-What-You-Can. Opening Night Friday, September 11th is $30 with drinks and hors d’ouvres included after the show. Regular performance nights are $18 Thursdays, $22 Friday and Sunday, $25 for Saturdays. Wednesday night performances begin on September 23rd at $15. Advance reservations strongly advised.

 For more information go to  HYPERLINK "http://www.shotgunplayers.org" www.shotgunplayers.org or call 510.841.6500 

For press photos, please download images from our website, or contact  Liz Lisle at  HYPERLINK "mailto:liz@shotgunplayers.org" liz@shotgunplayers.org, or (510) 841-6500 x302