Innovative Play by Raleigh Little Theatre Hits the Stage

April 25, 2016

Audience participation is needed for this town hall set within a play

The Raleigh Little Theatre debuts "Beertown" on May 2, 2016. Photo courtesy of Raleigh Little Theatre.
The Raleigh Little Theatre debuts “Beertown” on May 2, 2016. Photo courtesy of Raleigh Little Theatre.

It’s a play that has nothing to do with beer, yet everything to do with it at the same time.  In its Raleigh, North Carolina debut, “Beertown” performed by Raleigh Little Theatre, offers theatergoers an innovative arts experience where they become part of the on stage action.

An original production of the Washington, D.C.-based theater company, dog & pony dc, “Beertown” is described as “an ensemble-devised interactive exploration of history, civic ritual, identity, community, and memory that incorporates live music, dance, group song…and a dessert potluck.”

In the play, citizens of a city called Beertown gather (every five years) for a historical ‘Quinquennial Celebration.’  During the festivities, a town meeting is called to vote on items that should be in the city’s official time capsule.  Items can be removed and added to reflect the city’s history and future.  But there’s a limit to the items, and audience members become the citizens participating in the conversation.  Song and dance ensues when actors offer the history and background on items introduced for consideration.

In a highly charged political year where the art of respectful conversation seems to be diminishing, “Beertown” should be a refreshing escape and reminder what civil discourse could be.

“Beertown” has been on a national tour in select cities. With dog & pony’s help, each production is fine tuned with local actors and regional nuances.  You can attend the Beertown Quinquennial Celebration at the Raleigh Little Theatre from May 6 – 22.  Attendees are asked to bring a desert for the potluck prior to the start of the show.  After the show, those 21 and older can sample Raleigh Brewing Company’s new ale, aptly named “Beertown Brown.”  For more information, visit the theater’s website at


The John William Pope Foundation is a supporter of the Raleigh Little Theatre, a community theatre open since 1936.  Learn more about other organizations the Pope Foundation supports.