Theater Arts Program to perform Flyin’ West


The play focuses on black pioneer women who colonized the West

MEDIA CONTACT: David Thompson,, 301-860-4311

(BOWIE, Md.) – Flyin’ West, a play about a small group of African-American pioneer women whose lives changed when they moved from the South to Nicodemus, Kansas as part of the Homestead Act in the late 19th century , will be presented by the BSU Theater Arts Program from November 17-19, at the Main Theater of the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Written by Pearl Cleage in 1992, the play focuses on the backgrounds, actions and feelings of four women, two men and their struggles against freedom, feminism, racism and intermarriage. Freedom and belonging are themes that have long dominated stories of the black community and Flyin’ West is one such story that highlights the strength that freedom requires.

“Flyin’ West touches on many of the same topics that impacted the lives of the characters in the play that we as a society continue to face today,” said theater arts teacher Elena Velasco. . “At the heart of the piece is freedom, especially newly acquired freedom. These characters not only had to carve out a life for themselves in an uncharted land, but envision a future for generations to come while healing and being shaped by their own enslaved past. Our cast worked exceptionally hard, and with the energy of director Angelisa Gillyard, we expect to have a strong performance.

Angelisa Gillyard, a well-known local director who brings years of experience with the Constellation Theater and 1st Stage, joins BSU stage manager Malaysha Saboleh (Class of 2023) and BSU alum and guest designer Lornezo Miguel Henriquez (Class of 2021) in celebrating the resilience of ancestors and the strength of brotherhood as characters confront racism and challenges to their opportunities and dreams.

“The piece uniquely portrays an overlooked chapter in our nation’s history – the migration of black women to the West – and introduces themes of female power, relationships and determination,” Velasco said.

Flyin’ West is a reminder that the western United States was populated by a diverse population and that the Homestead Act allowed people of all races and ethnicities to own land. The land given by the Homestead Act of 1862 was originally the land of Native Americans.

“The play will ask the audience how we must continually confront our origins and those who came before us in order to move forward as a nation,” Velasco said.

For more ticket information, go to


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