Professors' Loray Mill Strike Musical Receives Cultural Vision Grant

Loray Mill in Gastonia
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Sequina DuBose and Laura Waringer have assembled a creative team for a new musical.

Professors Sequina DuBose and Laura Waringer have received a Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts & Science Council in support of their project to create a new musical theatre work based on the story of the 1929 strike at the Loray Mill in Gastonia. The $20,000 grant was announced on December 6.

Cultural Vision Grants support high quality arts and culture projects presented within Mecklenburg County by Mecklenburg County-based creative individuals or nonprofit organizations that advance one of the following goals: building community by connecting individuals across points of difference; building community by nurturing, celebrating, and supporting authentic cultures and creative expression; increasing relevance by using arts, science and history to address complex community issues; and increasing innovation by supporting the creation of new and groundbreaking work.

historical photo of Ella May WigginsDuBose, a voice professor, and Waringer, a theatre professor, co-direct the Musical Theatre Certificate program. Last spring they received a New South | Global South grant from the College of Arts + Architecture to begin developing the new musical, Threads, which centers around Ella May Wiggins (right), a textile mill worker and single mother who was active in the strike and was subsequently murdered as a result.

DuBose and Waringer have assembled a creative team that includes playwrights/alumni Stacey Rose and Raven Monroe, physical theatre professor Carlos Cruz, and composer Mark Dillon, who teaches songwriting at UNC Greensboro. Incorporating the development of the musical into a spring semester course, they will present a “work in progress” performance at the Loray Mill site on May 8, 2024.