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The purpose of the Spirit House project is to use community based research and theater in order to explore the impact of exclusionary housing policy and practices on women and families, and the intersections between sex, gender, race, class and sexual orientation in experiences of finding housing and defining “home.”

The Spirit House project has three main elements that occurred throughout the course of a year: focus groups with women and families, traditional research, and a free staged reading of Spirit House– an original multi-media piece of theater.

FOCUS GROUPS: GNOFHAC, with assistance from Kiyoko McCrae of Junebug Productions, engaged in focus groups throughout the city with constituents of organizations serving women and families to better understand their experiences of finding and securing housing.

RESEARCH: GNOFHAC also worked with Research Coordinator Shana griffin of the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative to conduct research on housing policy and trends over the last 80 years and their effects on women and families from an intersectional approach. The research focused on issues like how housing policies and practices are gendered and have contributed to racial and gender inequity, increased violence, and produced social vulnerabilities.

Click here to see the research fact sheet

Click here to see the collaborators’ biographies

STAGED READING: Lastly, GNOFHAC worked with playwrights Geryll Robinson and LaKeesha J. Harris, and Cripple Creek Theatre Company to create and produce an original multi-media theater piece called Spirit House. The piece combines the testimony from the various focus groups as well as the research GNOFHAC staff conducted into an original script hat both dramatized and personalized the varied streams of information. The format of Spirit House draws heavily from the Living Newpaper, a new form of drama invented in the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930′s. Spirit House combines narrative, poetry, and cold hard facts to create a story about the disenfranchisement we see next door, and the disenfranchisement that has shaped this country.

The production details are as follows:

When: April 19th, 6:00PM

Where: Dryades Theater 1232 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard (Erato), New Orleans, LA 70113

The production is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required.  To register, click here or call Sophie Rosen at (504) 596-2100, ext 109.

Cast List:

Sherri Marina- Mama Celeste
Pamela Davis-Noland- Vanessa
Ori Toure’- Jabari
Gahiji Barrow- Joe
Indee- Indigo/ Water
Aminisha Ferdinand- Oya/ Air
Swamp Deville- Fire
Kayce Skye Musick- Billie/ Earth
Geryll Robinson and Lakeesha Harris- Playwrights
Michael Rathbun- Designer
Andrew Vaught- Director
Photo Credits:
Zack Smith
Cherise Harrison-Nelson