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.

     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.

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©The Picher Project 2020. New York, NY.