Elevator Repair Service

Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge: A Conversation about History and Process with Elevator Repair Service

Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:00pm

FREE! RSVP required for access to virtual event.

“Boisterously entertaining.”
—Entertainment Weekly

Actors Greig Sargeant and Ben Williams and director and Elevator Repair Service founder John Collins will discuss the development and process of creating their new theater work in progress “Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge.”

In February 1965, writers James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. were invited to the Cambridge University Union in England to debate the proposition “The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro." Sargeant and Williams will perform short excerpts from the show, which is a verbatim re-enactment of the debate, and talk with Collins about the origins of the work, how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the development process, and how Black Lives Matter has heightened the lens through which audiences will now experience the production.

The members of Elevator Repair Service will also speak about their ensemble-based development process, which includes a broad range of both high- and low-tech design, literary and found text, and innovative choreography. The discussion will be moderated by Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl and Fitzroy “Pablo” Wickham ’21.

This event will also be streamed on Facebook.

"In January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic closed theaters around the world, I saw an early open rehearsal of a new work by renowned theater company Elevator Repair Service...[Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge] was a performance filled with emotion, expression, desire, and an impassioned assertion of civil rights that I felt was important for our Wesleyan students and community to experience." Read more from Associate Director for Programming and Performing Arts Fiona Coffey on the Center for the Arts blog.


Watch Party: Baldwin vs. Buckley
Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 7pm (EST)
Reserve Now

Join a viewing party of the historic 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William Buckley. Hosted by Fitzroy “Pablo” Wickham ’21 and Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl, this viewing party and conversation will precede the dynamic conversation with the renowned theater company Elevator Repair Service on March 4 as they discuss the development of their newest show, Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge, a verbatim performance of this remarkable debate. Co-sponsored by Shades, the Theater Department, and the Center for the Arts.