Ammi: A New Play Commission

The Daniel E. Offutt III Charitable Trust has awarded Thrown Stone a grant to commission a new play about Ammi Phillips (1788-1865). 

Ammi Phillips worked as a traveling portrait painter throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York in the early 1800s. We first learned about him on Searching For The Lost Limner, an episode of Davis Dunavin’s Off The Path podcast, which explored the fascinating story of how his legacy as one of the most prolific folk painters of his time was uncovered.

Just as fascinating was the world Ammi lived in, bookended by the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. His life coincided with the gradual abolition of Slavery in Connecticut between 1784 and 1848 — a time of massive change in America. His story invites us to reflect on the great changes facing us today, in the same region, two centuries later.

We chose award-winning playwright and previous Thrown Stone collaborator, Jacqueline Goldfinger (The Arsonists, 2018), for the project. Jacqui’s plays are complex tapestries of the American experience. Her characters are everyday, often overlooked Americans, whose struggles we connect with, while acknowledging their problematic legacies.

Work on the new play will begin in January 2021. Workshops and public readings will be held in October of that year in collaboration with the Ridgefield Library, Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, Ridgefield Historical Society, Kent Historical Society, and other local organizations. The American Folk Art Museum, whose collection includes several works by Phillips, will be working with Thrown Stone in an advisory capacity for the play. We look forward to inviting you to take part in the development of this new play.

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