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Higher Ground to present ‘Needle Work’

Higher Ground will present a new play, Needle Work, as part of the Mountain Heritage Festival in Whitesburg on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. The performance, which will include stories collected in eastern Kentucky communities and music from the cast and local band the Kudzu Killers, will take place in the auditorium in the Belinda Mason building on Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College’s Whitesburg campus.

A second performance will take place at 2 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the Godbey Appalachian Center in Cumberland as part of the Kingdom Swappin’ Meetin’ and Black Bear Festival.

Needle Work was commissioned by USAP, a Letcher County a coalition of community volunteers, including health care providers, partnering agencies, educators, and citizens dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of substance abuse in our communities. The play examines the pros and cons of needle exchanges, where substance abusers can exchange dirty syringes for clean ones without fear of legal consequences, as a way of stemming the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDs.

The play centers on a mountain woman who has lost a daughter to drug abuse, and starts a needle exchange out of her home. Her friends are shocked when they find out, and dramatic behavior ensues. There are comic moments along the way, and songs are sung, and stories light and heavy are told that reflect the humor and beauty present in our collective struggle to find our way through difficult circumstances.

Higher Ground is a community performance group coordinated by the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Appalachian Program. Since 2005, Higher Ground has created seven original musical dramas out of oral histories collected in eastern Kentucky. Its shows are performed by community residents and include local music, celebrate local strength and confront local challenges.

The Needle Work performance is free of charge.

For more information or to make reservations, contact Robert Gipe at 606-620-3913 or robert.gipe@kctcs.edu or Alexia Ault at 270-791-1593 or highergroundinharlan@gmail.com.