Charlotte’s Golden Circle
Evolving from a general seminar for sedentary seniors in Charlotte, NC, through a revolving door of readers of all ages and walks of life over a decade, into Cold Reads/Charlotte and this invitation to the world.
In early 2004, George Gray, a local theatre vet, volunteered to lead a theatre club for senior citizens. The story of how that group evolved into Cold Reads is posted as Cold Reads Roots in Charlotte.
Ten years later, Gray launched this blog, originally as a repository for digital scripts for his group to download, along with random thoughts on theatre and drama. In time it has evolved into this virtual why and how-to manual on reading plays with others.
Our Pulitzer Year
Gray’s Pulitzer Challenge opened this blog to the world by inviting people everywhere to sign up, download, and read. Unaware of the Pulitzer Centennial until the year was planned, he submitted the challenge as a Campfire event and so impressed the Committee that they published a follow-up feature (Groups Gather), and suggested the possibility of more support.
Coincidentally, Pultizer NC director Banu Valladares attended the Kickoff read in Charlotte and has pledged her support, not only for the Challenge, but perhaps also, in time, as Grants and Programs Administrator of the NC Council for the Humanities (previously with the NC Arts Council), for the Cold Reads (grassroots movement) concept. Things are looking up.
The sad thing is, no one but the Challenger is playing the game.
He and several in his small circle have collectively read a dozen Pulitzer plays since the May 16 Kickoff event, and will tackle five in 5-day retreat to the mountains in August. Gray intends to read all eighty-six with anyone who cares to join, and post his progress on the blog (Category: Charlotte), but he emphasizes that the Challenge is see how many will read (and register) only one, and to reward those who read more.
In the Works
Certain plays have been reserved for special events where (hopefully) crowds willl gather a state-wide recognition of Hell-Bent fer Heaven, by Hatcher Hughes (NC’s “other” Prize-winner); Of Thee I Sing, by George S Kaufmann and the Gershwins, around election time (the first musical to win); and The Green Pastures, by Marc Connelly, to celebrate Black History Month.
What happens next will soon be more of this history.