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About BUll CITY DIGNITY


Our Program

Over the summer of 2016, a group of Durham high school students will put on the second Bull City Dignity Project, a documentary theater project based on the lives of Durham's community members. As they compile interviews with Durham residents from across multiple communities and generations, the cast members of Bull City Dignity explore the forces that shape the city's ever-changing landscape, history of inequality, and unique culture. 

In 2015, The Original Bull City Dignity looked at Durham through the stories of the secretary of one of Durham's oldest AME churches, a former mayor who oversaw integration, and a car salesman who seems to know everybody in Durham. Exploring topics such as gentrification, LGBT+ history, and Durham's Civil Rights history, The First Bull City Dignity Project explored the landscape of our city and brought new meaning to the place we call home. 

And now, Bull City Dignity is back for the summer of 2016. The theme of the 2016 show is "The Body," and the students will have a chance to explore topics such as health inequalities, mass incarceration, gender violence, and immigration. In this year's program, twelve Durham students will be selected to spend the summer acting, writing, and working closely with community members to create an all-new piece of documentary theater. The final performance will be showcased in multiple venues across Durham. 

Our Facilitators 

Leoncia K. Gillespie is born and raised in Durham. The Valedictorian of Hillside High's class of 2016, she will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall, where she aspires to major in biology.  Leoncia is excited to be a part of Bull City Dignity for her second year. She enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry about family, faith, and her experiences. She has an ultimate goal of combining her interest in science and her love for people into a career fighting structural oppression in our healthcare system. 

Dominique Cassamajor is a freshman at Morehouse College planning to double major in Business Administration and Theater Administration. Raised in Durham, North Carolina, he has spent the past two years as part of the Bull City Dignity Team, beginning with his role in the inaugural cast of the program last year. Dom is interested in the theory and practice of working "behind-the-scenes" in not only Performing Arts but also Film and Social Organizing. He enjoys performing slam-poetry-style monologues and documenting national activists and artists, and plans to continue his organizing work by facilitating social justice convenings and conferences. 

Lara Haft is a rising senior at Duke from Rockville, Maryland studying Political Science and Religion. In the summer of 2015, she was part of the team that began the Bull City Project and she is delighted to be facilitating the program again this year. A total Durham-history nerd, Lara aspires to open a folk-archive and community organizing space in a little yellow house, where she will grow old and eventually be interviewed by the cast of the 50th Bull City Dignity Project about the "olden days" of 2016.

Cindy Li is a rising junior at Duke from Guangzhou, China majoring in Neuroscience and Dance. Their choreographic work is dedicated to creating performance art as a form of political activism, and making space for embodied practice of critical theory; they deeply believe in the transformative and liberatory power of public art that is made by, made for, and accessible to the people. Cindy is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Bull City Dignity team this year!

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About BUll CITY DIGNITY


Our Program

Over the summer of 2016, a group of Durham high school students will put on the second Bull City Dignity Project, a documentary theater project based on the lives of Durham's community members. As they compile interviews with Durham residents from across multiple communities and generations, the cast members of Bull City Dignity explore the forces that shape the city's ever-changing landscape, history of inequality, and unique culture. 

In 2015, The Original Bull City Dignity looked at Durham through the stories of the secretary of one of Durham's oldest AME churches, a former mayor who oversaw integration, and a car salesman who seems to know everybody in Durham. Exploring topics such as gentrification, LGBT+ history, and Durham's Civil Rights history, The First Bull City Dignity Project explored the landscape of our city and brought new meaning to the place we call home. 

And now, Bull City Dignity is back for the summer of 2016. The theme of the 2016 show is "The Body," and the students will have a chance to explore topics such as health inequalities, mass incarceration, gender violence, and immigration. In this year's program, twelve Durham students will be selected to spend the summer acting, writing, and working closely with community members to create an all-new piece of documentary theater. The final performance will be showcased in multiple venues across Durham. 

Our Facilitators 

Leoncia K. Gillespie is born and raised in Durham. The Valedictorian of Hillside High's class of 2016, she will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall, where she aspires to major in biology.  Leoncia is excited to be a part of Bull City Dignity for her second year. She enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry about family, faith, and her experiences. She has an ultimate goal of combining her interest in science and her love for people into a career fighting structural oppression in our healthcare system. 

Dominique Cassamajor is a freshman at Morehouse College planning to double major in Business Administration and Theater Administration. Raised in Durham, North Carolina, he has spent the past two years as part of the Bull City Dignity Team, beginning with his role in the inaugural cast of the program last year. Dom is interested in the theory and practice of working "behind-the-scenes" in not only Performing Arts but also Film and Social Organizing. He enjoys performing slam-poetry-style monologues and documenting national activists and artists, and plans to continue his organizing work by facilitating social justice convenings and conferences. 

Lara Haft is a rising senior at Duke from Rockville, Maryland studying Political Science and Religion. In the summer of 2015, she was part of the team that began the Bull City Project and she is delighted to be facilitating the program again this year. A total Durham-history nerd, Lara aspires to open a folk-archive and community organizing space in a little yellow house, where she will grow old and eventually be interviewed by the cast of the 50th Bull City Dignity Project about the "olden days" of 2016.

Cindy Li is a rising junior at Duke from Guangzhou, China majoring in Neuroscience and Dance. Their choreographic work is dedicated to creating performance art as a form of political activism, and making space for embodied practice of critical theory; they deeply believe in the transformative and liberatory power of public art that is made by, made for, and accessible to the people. Cindy is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Bull City Dignity team this year!

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Why Dignity?


Dignity is central of our understanding of ourselves and others. What worth do we place on ourselves and on those around us? Is dignity something we're born with or something granted to us by others? Dignity often interacts with kinds of identity like race, age, and gender. How do our identities shape how people perceive us and how we perceive ourselves? Bull City Dignity strives to explore these questions through storytelling and to spark conversations about what dignity means in to Durham, connecting the dots between our individual stories and the larger structures that shape our city as we know it. 

Why Dignity?


Dignity is central of our understanding of ourselves and others. What worth do we place on ourselves and on those around us? Is dignity something we're born with or something granted to us by others? Dignity often interacts with kinds of identity like race, age, and gender. How do our identities shape how people perceive us and how we perceive ourselves? Bull City Dignity strives to explore these questions through storytelling and to spark conversations about what dignity means in to Durham, connecting the dots between our individual stories and the larger structures that shape our city as we know it. 

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Interested Students


Application and Audition Process: Bull City Dignity 2016 will run for 2 months (8 weeks) during the summer from late June to late August. This year, we're looking for twelve cast members to join the program. Interested students should be curious about activism, theater, history and/or writing, though no specific background in any of these is required. Applications for the Bull City Dignity Project are accessible online. After filling out the online application, join us at one of our several audition dates in mid-April in the East Duke building on Duke University’s East Campus.  At the audition, students will be asked to perform a monologue and participate in a short interview. Twelve cast members will be chosen using a holistic process on the basis of experience and enthusiasm for performance, public history, writing, and activism.

This year's cast has been selected. 

Schedule: In the start of the program, we will divide into three smaller groups and begin to meet weekly both within our small groups and as a full cast. We meet on weekdays in the afternoons or evenings, and/or on the weekends if needed. This is what a student’s schedule will typically look like throughout the program:

Weeks 1-3 (4 days/week): four weekly full cast meetings

Weeks 4-5 (4 days/week): two weekly small group meetings, two weekly full cast meetings

Weeks 6-7 (5 days/week): two weekly small group meetings, three weekly full cast meetings

Week 8 (5 days/week): five full-cast rehearsals

Interested Students


Application and Audition Process: Bull City Dignity 2016 will run for 2 months (8 weeks) during the summer from late June to late August. This year, we're looking for twelve cast members to join the program. Interested students should be curious about activism, theater, history and/or writing, though no specific background in any of these is required. Applications for the Bull City Dignity Project are accessible online. After filling out the online application, join us at one of our several audition dates in mid-April in the East Duke building on Duke University’s East Campus.  At the audition, students will be asked to perform a monologue and participate in a short interview. Twelve cast members will be chosen using a holistic process on the basis of experience and enthusiasm for performance, public history, writing, and activism.

This year's cast has been selected. 

Schedule: In the start of the program, we will divide into three smaller groups and begin to meet weekly both within our small groups and as a full cast. We meet on weekdays in the afternoons or evenings, and/or on the weekends if needed. This is what a student’s schedule will typically look like throughout the program:

Weeks 1-3 (4 days/week): four weekly full cast meetings

Weeks 4-5 (4 days/week): two weekly small group meetings, two weekly full cast meetings

Weeks 6-7 (5 days/week): two weekly small group meetings, three weekly full cast meetings

Week 8 (5 days/week): five full-cast rehearsals