Bourbon at the Border by Pearl Cleage

Directed by: Denise Chapman

Produced by: The Union for Contemporary Art’s Performing Arts Collective

Audition date/time: Sunday July 30 and Monday July 31 6pm-8pm

Audition location: The Union for Contemporary Art // 2423 N 24th Street (Lake St Entrance)

Performance dates: September 22–October 8 (note Sunday matinees are at 4pm)

First day of rehearsal: August 17

Summary of Play: When May and Charlie joined hundreds of other Americans who went to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 for a massive voter registration drive, they had no idea their lives were about to change forever. As students at Howard University, their campus activism had been met with calls to their parents and threats of expulsion. The stakes in Mississippi were a lot higher. White supremacists, outraged at the challenge to their segregated way of life, responded with violence that left three civil rights workers dead and many wounded. Years later, May and Charlie are still searching for a way back from the damage that was done to them during that long ago "Freedom Summer." Unable to confide even in her best friend, Rosa, about the demons that haunt her dreams and twist Charlie's love for her into something she can no longer recognize, May is convinced that if she can just get Charlie to leave Detroit and cross the bridge to Canada, they can start a new life. But when Rosa's friend Tyrone gets Charlie a job as a truck driver, the madness of that summer bubbles over until it threatens all of their very lives. BOURBON AT THE BORDER takes a look at the lives of two ordinary people who gave everything they had to the African–American freedom struggle but who have now been largely forgotten. In telling May and Charlie's story, BOURBON AT THE BORDER puts a human face on the unknown soldiers of the civil rights movement by refusing to romanticize them even as it honors their specific sacrifices and the price they paid.


May Thompson – African-American woman, late 40’s

Rosa St. John – African-American woman, late 40’s

Charles Thompson – African-American man, late 40’s

Tyrone Washington – African-American man, late 40’s

Please note: All actors will be asked to read selections from the script and have the option to present a prepared monologue (contemporary, no more than two minutes) Please bring a headshot and resume if you have one (not required to audition).

Actors auditioning for Bourbon at the Border should have evening availability Wednesday-Friday from 6pm-9pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 3-8 and have no conflicts during tech week Saturday, September 16 – Thursday, September 21 which includes the Monday and Tuesday of that week. Please bring a list of all potential conflicts. Any conflicts with the posted schedule must be discussed with and agreed to by the Director before casting can be confirmed. The Union appreciates the time, talent, and efforts of the artist with which we work and is proud to provide a stipend to support a culture that sees the arts as valuable and necessary. We pay artists. Period.

Questions? Contact Denise Chapman at  or 402-933-3161

The Performing Arts Collective (PAC) is dedicated to the development and continued support of professional theater artists, youth programming that uses theatre and performance to teach life skills, and professional thought provoking productions that are relevant to the community and reflect more authentic and diverse narratives about African American experiences.

PAC is made up of three main components that complement, extend, and align with The Union's commitment to supporting the creative culture of our community. Program components include:

Professional Theatre Ensemble: Building a professional theatre company dedicated to exploring the diversity of the African American experience in contemporary theater and providing a  central space for artists of color to work on their craft, be supported in their endeavors, and support positive change within the North Omaha community.

New Voices Youth Program: The youth education wing of PAC, dedicated to instilling hope and helping young people see past their circumstances, own their voice, and envision something greater for their future. The New Voices Youth Program extends The Union’s commitment to provide free cultural programs for children living in North Omaha to include theater and performing arts  education.

Black Artist Roundtable (BAR): Regularly scheduled interdisciplinary artist conversations focusing on the complexities of what it means to be an artist of color in Nebraska. Providing professional development and social networking opportunities to build a stronger sense of community, BAR will also act as a clearinghouse for PAC's community engagement efforts and social practice.

For questions regarding PAC programming, please reach out to our Associate Director, Performing Arts Collective Denise Chapman at

To reduce financial barriers to arts attendance, The Union has adopted the radical-hospitality ticketing model:

General admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. To obtain a free ticket, you must visit our box office at The Union on the day of the show (between 4–6pm on Thurs–Saturday shows; 1–3pm on Sundays) . If you prefer guaranteed admission and wish to purchase tickets in advance, you may purchase tickets below until noon on the day of show. Advance tickets are $20 + tax per seat and are limited.