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The MOVE Project

April 5-9, 2021

A Virtual journey into the world of the Hybrid Opera WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED

The MOVE Project is a week long series of events from April 5 – 9, 2021 that will feature a digital recreation of the hybrid opera “We Shall Not Be Moved,” followed by a series of panel discussions, symposiums, and masterclasses delivered by the cast and creatives of the original show.  These artists will bring their expertise and talents to the table, helping students from around the USA to improve their own performance skill sets and abilities as they prepare for careers in the professional arts industry.


The MOVE Through

April 5 | 5-7 PM MT

A digital re-creation of the original hip hop opera "We Shall Not Be Moved," followed by an exclusive Q and A session with members of the original cast and creative team.


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The Making Of We Shall Not Be Moved

April 7 | 5-7 PM MT

A panel discussion with Opera Philadelphia Administrator, Michael Bolton and several members of the WSNBM cast about how the idea for the show was born, how it progressed to a commission for the composer and the librettist, and how it blossomed into a hit show.

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How We Got Here

April 8 | 4 -6 PM MT

 A panel discussion with the three superstars of "We Shall Not Be Moved," Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), librettist and spoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and director/choreographer/icon Bill T. Jones who will share the journey of bringing "We Shall Not Be Moved" from paper to the stage. Moderated by Kirstin Chávez.

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ABOUT We Shall Not Be Moved

“We Shall Not Be Moved,” a hybrid opera which premiered in Philadelphia in 2017 through the efforts of Opera Philadelphia, was named by The New York Times as one of that year’s “Best Classical Performances.”   The power of the story, which took its roots from the historical event ‘The Move Bombing,’ a war against Black American activists which happened in Philadelphia in 1984, is made ever more compelling by the infusion of Hip Hop, spoken word poetry, jazz, classical singing and improvisatory themes. In The MOVE Project all of the original cast members will be joined by the principal creative team during this week-long series of events, which will feature symposiums, masterclasses, and panel discussions that dive into each individual artistic aspect touched by this amazing show.  Daniel Bernard Roumain, composer, will be joined by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, poet and spoken word artist, and icon director and choreographer Bill T. Jones to deliver some of the highlight content of The MOVE Project.




All times are Mountain Standard Time.


mon<<The MOVE Through>>
5-7 PM 

A video re-creation of the hip-hop hybrid opera called We Shall Not Be Moved. Followed by Q and A with cast members

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monMorning Gathering
9 - 9 :15 AM 

All invited to join in a gathering led by cast members with inspiration for the day


Conducting and New Music Masterclass
10 - 11 AM

Conductor Viswa Subbaraman and WSNBM pianist, Mila Henry

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Singers’ Masterclass
12 :30 - 2 PM

With Professor Daniel Shirley and Professor Kirstin Chavez, cast members of WSNBM

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wedMorning Gathering
9 - 9 :15 AM 

All invited to join in a gathering led by cast members with inspiration for the day


Passcode: Kk&PB?9J


Composer/Theorist/New Music Lecture
Noon – 1 PM

Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain speaks to composers and theorists

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Writers’ and Creatives Masterclass
4 – 5

A class with world-renowned artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Librettist for WSNBM

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<<The Making of WSNBM>> 
5 - 7 PM

A panel discussion on the making of We Shall Not Be Moved with cast members and Opera Philadelphia. Followed by Q and A

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thursMorning Gathering
9 - 9 :15 AM 

All invited to join in a gathering led by cast members with inspiration for the day

Watch now

Passcode: i8MqD!+g

Dance Masterclass
9 :40 – 11 :30 AM

With all dancers of WSNBM, plus Assistant Choreographer Raphael Xavier and guest dancers

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Singers’ Masterclass
1 – 2 :30 PM

Cast members Aubrey Allicock and Adam Richardson, lead a masterclass for low voices

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<<How We Got Here>>
4 - 6 PM

Panel Discussion with WSNBM icons DBR, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Bill T. Jones. Followed by Q and A

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friMorning Gathering
9 -9 :15 AM 

All invited to join in a gathering led by cast members with inspiration for the day


Passcode: Sm0!3tMf 

Actors’/Creative Writers’ Masterclass/Discussion
2-3 PM

With Seth Hoff, Assistant Director and Lauren Whitehead, lead actress of WSNBM

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The MOVE Through—Reprised
5-7 PM

Another look at the recreation of WSNBM in the after effects of The MOVE Project, followed by Q and A discussion with cast members

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View PowerPoint of WSNBM from Kate Mattingly, School of Dance.




dbr and mbjComposer & Librettist

Daniel Bernard Roumain & Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Daniel Bernard Roumain's acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga. Learn more about Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Learn more about Marc Bamuthi Joseph.


Viswa Subbaraman


Bill T. Jones 

Director, Choreographer & Dramaturg

Lauren Whitehead

as Un/Sung

Kirstin Chávez

as Glenda

John Holiday

as John Blue

Daniel Shirley

John Little

Adam Richardson

as John Mack

Aubrey Allicock

as John Henry



Dance Department and the Division of the Arts with funding from the Anonymous Fund


Last Updated: 5/16/24