Freedom Summer

Joan Kane directed an Equity Showcase Code production of Freedom Summer

was presented by Theater for the New City and produced by Ego Actus with performances June 8 to June 25, 2023
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm
at Theater for the New City 155 First Avenue, NYC 10002


This latest play by Toby Armour takes its name from the now-famous volunteer campaign in June 1964, staffed primarily by northern college students, to register as many African-American voters as possible in Misssissippi. Many of the state’s white residents deeply resented the outsiders and any attempt to change society there. Police, white citizens’ councils and the KKK used arrests, arson, and worse to oppose the project. This suspenseful play is based on Armour’s own experiences in the campaign, although its characters are all fictional. The play centers on two young women who are thrown together by chance as volunteers in the effort. Sylvie, white from up North, knows too little. Terry, African-American born and raised in Mississippi, perhaps knows too much. They struggle and face danger and disappointment. Persisting together, they discover some old fashioned home truths and well-kept secrets.


“Smoothly staged and directed by Joan Kane, the show glides cinematically” Claude Solnik in The Village Sun

the program


Arianne Banda, Clarence Comfort, Tim Dietrich, Clara Francesca*, Beth Griffith*, and Debra Khan-Bey,

*appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity


director Joan Kane
assistant director Maggie Connick
stage manager Richard Urquiza
set designer by Mark Marcante & Lytza Colon
costume design Billy Little
light designer Alex Bartenieff
sound designer Joy Linscheid
projections Jim Marlowe
graphic designer Anne Marie Giordano
line producer Bruce A! Kraemer
public relations. Jonathan Slaff, [email protected]

production photos

an audience response from Barbara Kahn a multi-award winning playwright, director, and actor

A recommendation. Freedom Summer, playing at Theater for the New City. Historic dramas can portray the humanity of past experience by putting the audience back in time with the characters who were there. Freedom Summer, by Toby Armour, directed by Joan Kane, with a dynamic cast of six, evokes the summer of 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi, where African Americans and their white allies put their lives on the line to achieve civil rights for all Americans, We cry and laugh with Terry (Arianne Banda) and Sylvia (Clara Francesca). We feel their fear as they learn of the murders of other civil rights workers. Yet they persist. We get to meet Fanny Lou Hamer, Howard Zinn and Pete Seeger. And we sing with them the anthems of the civil rights movement that worked to make the American dream possible for all citizens, This stellar production is an important and timely piece of theater that I highly recommend. See it and feel it and find your own courage as we all face the current threats to our (imperfect) democracy.

rehearsal photos

cast headshots

Top Arianna Banda, Clara Francesca*, Debra Khan-Bey,

Bottom Beth Griffith*, Clarence Comfort, Tim Dietrich