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“A Fierce Kind of Love” Comes to Ursinus College

A Fierce Kind of Love, the renowned play that explores the intellectual disabilities rights movement in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, comes to Ursinus College for two special performances.

The performances are Monday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Blackbox Studio Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center. Both shows are sold out. 

The play, presented for the first time by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University for a limited time in April, shares a largely untold civil rights story of the past 50 years — one in which parents, siblings, activists, and advocates with intellectual disabilities struggled for equality and inclusion.

A Fierce Kind of Love, written by award-winning director, performer, and playwright Suli Holum, features a cast of artists with mixed abilities, celebrates the stories of intellectual disability rights, and points to the ongoing need for activism and greater inclusion in society.

“This play and its unique cast highlight what it means to have a society that embraces people of all abilities,” says Celia Feinstein, co-executive director of the Institute on Disabilities.  “We are delighted by this opportunity to engage and collaborate with the Ursinus community.”

The play combines landmark events in the intellectual disability rights movement — such as broadcasting icon Bill Baldini’s 1968 NBC-TV expose on the Pennhurst State School and Hospital, and Pennsylvania’s 1971 Right to Education case — with intimate stories of parents, siblings and cast members that chronicle political activism, family heartache, and personal triumphs.

“As a professor at Ursinus, I am thrilled that A Fierce Kind of Love will be performing on our campus. This is a rare opportunity for our students and our neighbors to experience innovative and enlightening theater right here in Collegeville.  This show will teach, enrich, and entertain us in groundbreaking ways, and will bring our community together for a profound night of theater,” says Domenick Scudera, a professor of theater at Ursinus College.

The play is directed by Philadelphia theater veteran David Bradley, whose boundary-crossing artistic collaborations explore civic and community themes through the arts.

Holum, a co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company, is a Barrymore Award winner for choreography in Cafeteria, and she received a Drama Desk Award for her off-Broadway role in Lebensraum.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

A Fierce Kind of Love has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. –by Ed Moorhouse