Library Foundation Launching Tolland Oral History Performance Project on April 28

Thanks to a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Tolland Public Library Foundation will launch a townwide oral history project on April 28 at the Tolland Public Library.

The special community project, known as the Tolland Oral History Performance Project, centers around collecting oral histories of longtime Tolland residents and will culminate in a public performance developed from the stories collected through this effort.

Participants will use oral histories and historic records to create a community performance to highlight the lives of the people of Tolland, past and present.

The project cultivates intergenerational relationships while participants learn local history. They’ll also develop storytelling techniques, and the project will engage residents in civic public dialogue.

Kristen Morgan, a professor of Theatre and New Media Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University and a member of the board of directors of the library foundation, will direct the project. She has decades of experience in developing public performances based on oral histories and historic archives.

Her recent projects including “Thread City,’’ based on stories of immigrants who worked at the American Thread Mill Co. in Willimantic, and “Cultivating Dignity,” a production filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of a young Martin Luther King Jr. as he worked in the fields of the Cullman Bros. Tobacco Farm in Simsbury.

Morgan will lead a kick-off workshop on April 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the library at 21 Tolland Green to introduce the project and educate participants in how to conduct oral history interviews. The library foundation has donated funds to make recording kits available to be checked out from the library, and Morgan will explain how to use the kits.

Residents of all ages are welcome but are encouraged to register ahead of time by visiting tolland.org/library, clicking on the online events calendar and scrolling to April 28. For more information, email Morgan at morgankr@easternct.edu.