THE TRIP

     In March 2019, the team set out for the small town of Miami, Oklahoma, located just south of the ghost town of Picher. With support from local environmental researcher and activist Rebecca Jim, the three conducted dozens of interviews with former Picher residents, Quapaw Nation members, and more. Rebecca Jim led them on her famous “Toxic Tour” around Picher, showing them the widespread effects of pollution and improper mine closure in the small town. Throughout the life-changing weeklong trip, the team experienced firsthand the stories they had read about, seeing and feeling the complexities of the heartbreak over Picher. Through the generous help of Rebecca Jim, Aaron Smith and the Northeast Oklahoma University Theatre Department, and some dedicated locals, the trip concluded with a public reading of a draft of the script. After getting feedback from the community, the team felt that they had earned the locals' stamp of approval, catapulting them into writing a show that maintained that integrity.

View of Picher from Chat Pile

View of Picher from Chat Pile

KEEP OUT - Abandoned House

KEEP OUT - Abandoned House

Lead Hazard Sign

Lead Hazard Sign

Remains of Hoppy's Pool Hall

Remains of Hoppy's Pool Hall

Quapaw Veteran's Wall

Quapaw Veteran's Wall

Lauren and Alex Rehearse

Lauren and Alex Rehearse

Abandoned House in Picher

Abandoned House in Picher

Picher's Last Business

Picher's Last Business

Historical Quapaw Relics

Historical Quapaw Relics

Writing Team on a Chat Pile

Writing Team on a Chat Pile

Quentin, Kait Kelly, and Lauren

Quentin, Kait Kelly, and Lauren

Four States Home Interview

Four States Home Interview

Toxic Tour with Joplin Globe

Toxic Tour with Joplin Globe

Rebecca Jim giving Toxic Tour

Rebecca Jim giving Toxic Tour

Rebecca, The Team, and Kim Barker

Rebecca, The Team, and Kim Barker

Rebecca and Team at the Coleman

Rebecca and Team at the Coleman

Rebecca Jim and John Sparkman

Rebecca Jim and John Sparkman

     Rebecca Jim is the executive director of LEAD Agency. Local Environmental Action Demanded (L.E.A.D.) Agency is a non-profit corporation organized in 1997 with the following goals: Educate the community on environmental concerns in Northeast Oklahoma; Take action to counter environmental hazards that put Northeast Oklahoma's residents at risk both physically and financially; Conduct environmental workshops and seminars concerning environmental issues in Northeast Oklahoma and other areas; Enhance our efforts by partnering with other environmental organizations throughout Oklahoma and the nation. More information can be found at leadagency.org

   On top of all the dramaturgy, writing, interviews, and museum visits, the team was lucky enough to be featured on several different news outlets to help get the word out about the project. Kim Barker, from The Joplin Globe, was the first to meet the group and featured the team in a front page story. The project was also featured in on-air news segments with Autumn Bracey of Four States Home News, and Kait Kelly, from KOAM news. To see these stories, click HERE.

The Team with Grace Goodeagle

The Team with Grace Goodeagle

NEO Reading

NEO Reading

Ardina Moore

Ardina Moore

USS Quapaw Anchor

USS Quapaw Anchor

NEO College Theater

NEO College Theater

Banks near Douthat Bridge

Banks near Douthat Bridge

Hoppy's Pool Hall - Interior

Hoppy's Pool Hall - Interior

Blooming Jonquils with Chat Pile

Blooming Jonquils with Chat Pile

Chat Pile Now

Chat Pile Now

Chat Pile Then

Chat Pile Then

Chat Piles and Polluted Waters

Chat Piles and Polluted Waters

The Team at Gary's

The Team at Gary's

Susie's Store

Susie's Store

Dobson Museum Picher Collection

Dobson Museum Picher Collection

Mining Can

Mining Can

PHS Band Uniforms

PHS Band Uniforms

PHS State Champ Trophy

PHS State Champ Trophy

Miner Photos

Miner Photos

Mining Artifacts, Working Mine Photo

Mining Artifacts, Working Mine Photo

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

Mining Town Replica

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©The Picher Project 2020. New York, NY.