Haverhill native’s new play on John Greenleaf Whittier to debut in June

Monday May 17, 2021

Haverhill – Playwright Michael Cormier examines the power of words in “The Abolitionist’s Refrain” a new play about John Greenleaf Whittier, poet and abolitionist. In cooperation with The Whittier Home and Museum of Amesbury and The Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill, Punctuate4 Productions will debut two scenes from the new work on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, both at 3 p.m.

“What better places to introduce this new play through dramatized readings than at The Whittier Museum and Whittier Birthplace? These are two local treasures that preserve Whittier’s legacy and enrich the region through educational and cultural activities that foster a love of poetry,” said Myriam Cyr, artistic director, Punctuate4 Productions.

Cormier, a Haverhill native, known as the author of “Saltonstall’s Trial”, has always had love of the rich history of his hometown and the region.

“As a historical figure, Whittier was always of particular interest, not only because I grew up in Haverhill, but because I’m descended from the Greenleafs,” said Cormier. “Like most people, I enjoyed his ‘pastoral’ poetry long before I became aware of his involvement in the abolitionist movement. Writing this play has given me the opportunity to learn more about the important role he played on the local and national stages, and how relevant the issues he grappled with remain today.”

“The past year has brought many challenges to us all,” added Cyr. “Punctuate4’s mission is to create a place where theater, conversations, and ideas come together to tell stories that matter. ‘The Abolitionist’s Refrain’ takes place as the Civil War ends. Whittier, who worked tirelessly for emancipation for decades, must now confront his own future and the future of a nation divided.”

Phil Thompson of Ipswich will take on the role of Whittier. Boxford’s Dan Bruns will portray William Lloyd Garrison, Corey Roberts of Hopedale is returning Union soldier Lester Williams and Marissa Mason of Beverly portrays Whittier’s niece Elizabeth.

Through the support of the Amesbury and Haverhill Cultural Councils, the programs are free and open to the public. The events will be held outdoors. There are no rain dates. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, reservations are required and there is limited attendance. Beginning on Friday, May 14 at noon use the links below to register.

To register visit the links below:

Saturday 6/12, Whittier Home, 86 Friends St., Amesbury visit here.

Sunday 6/13, Whittier Birthplace, 305 Whittier Rd. Haverhill visit here.

Punctuate4 Productions is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, non profit organization established in May of 2018.

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