"Faces of Phillis" a Staged Reading and Panel Discussion


Mon Dec 04 2023 at 06:00 pm to 07:30 pm


Boston Public Library - Rabb Hall | Boston, MA

Join us for a three-part night celebrating Phillis Wheatley Peters, including a staged reading, a panel discussion, and poetry reading!
About this Event

The is proud to present Faces of Phillis, a free staged reading and panel discussion, as the fifth installment of the annual Pierce Performance Series. The one and only performance will take place on December 4th, from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM in the Boston Public Library's Rabb Hall.

Faces of Phillis will celebrate Phillis Wheatley Peters on the 250th anniversary of the publication of Phillis's groundbreaking book Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

A recording of the event will be available for only one week on Vimeo (December 6th - December 13th). To receive the link to the virtual performance, please sign up here.

For more information about our collaborators, please see our Pierce Performance website.

The three-part evening will feature:

1 . A staged reading of "Faces of Phillis" by British-Nigerian playwright , and directed by Regge Life.

Faces of Phillis continues the exploration of Wheatley's life with two stand-alone scenes. The first is set before her transformational trip to London and focuses on her friendship with young Boston African artist, Scipio Moorhead. The teenager, enslaved like Phillis, is credited with having painted the frontispiece for her book. This is believed to be the first image of a woman writing in America. Phillis wrote a poem to this young African artist; her only work addressed to another African.

The second scene sees Phillis and her husband, John Peters, dealing with the economic privations of the war and the loss of their two infant babies. They're helped by midwife, healer, and abolitionist, Elizabeth Freeman, the first woman to legally sue for - and win - her freedom in a Massachusetts court. These scenes re-imagine moments before and after Phillis’s landmark book of 1773.

2 . A panel discussion moderated by . The panel will feature Ade Solanke, our playwright, Meredith Bergmann, the sculptor for the 2003 Boston Women’s Memorial, and Kyera Singleton, the Executive Director of the Royall House Museum.

3 . A dramatic poetry reading by the City of Boston’s Poet Laureate and BPL Trustee, Porsha Olayiwola. Porsha will perform a dramatic reading of one of Phillis’s poems, as well as her own work inspired by Phillis.

Event Photos
Ade Solanke

Adeola Solanke, also known as Ade, is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and founder of Spora Stories. Her acclaimed debut play, "Pandora's Box," received a Best New Play nomination in London's Off-West End Theatre Awards. Ade has been recognized as the Best Playwright in the Nigerian Entertainment and Lifestyle Awards and received Best Play honors in the African Film Awards. Her work has graced renowned stages across the UK, including Arcola, Young Vic, and Sheffield Crucible Theatres. Ade recently completed two Fulbright Distinguished International Fellowships at Emerson College and the University of Southern California. Ade has previously written two plays about Phillis Wheatley Peters including Phillis in London and Phillis in Boston, which is playing from November 3rd - December 3rd at Revolutionary Spaces in Boston.

Event Photos
Event Photos

is an independent nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, musical scores, and other items of literary, historic, and cultural importance. The Associates makes grants to ensure continued public access to these irreplaceable treasures by underwriting their conservation, cataloging, digitization, and exhibition. Through these efforts, the Associates aims to help the BPL fulfill its most essential mission of providing top quality, free educational resources to the public, as well as preserving knowledge, culture, and history for the benefit of all.

The Associates' seeks to raise the visibility of the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections through free public performances and lectures. Thanks to the generosity of the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust, this series has commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the Peace Jubilee, explored abolitionists' vital messages, and celebrated women's suffrage. We are excited that our fifth annual performance will highlight the life of Phillis Wheatley Peters.


Where is it happening?

Boston Public Library - Rabb Hall, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, United States

Event Location & Nearby Stays:


USD 0.00

Associates of the Boston Public Library

Host or Publisher Associates of the Boston Public Library

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