SUMMER IN SANCTUARY
Written and Performed by Peabody Award Winner Al Letson
Directed by Jennifer Welch
November 18 – March 18, 2016 | San Francisco
Fridays at 8pm | Saturdays at 8:30pm
“Letson is in masterful command of his audience.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“truly moving” … “impeccable impressions of the folks he changed, and who changed him” … “provides a spark for dialogue and movement toward change, shedding a hopeful light on reality” –San Francisco Examiner
“Letson’s Honesty makes it a show worth seeing. It is laugh-out-loud funny at times, intriguing and intellectual at others, but it ultimately communicates the profound truth that little bit of love goes a long way.” –-Showbiz Weekly
“a powerful and poetic performance”… “Letson expertly and precisely impersonates each child… we feel we have known them for the whole summer.”… “Let us continue the fight for these children by keeping Letson’s beautiful song alive.” –-Theatrius
Every day in America, more than 7,000 students drop out of school. Summer in Sanctuary is an autobiographical narrative that chronicles Letson’s summer working as a creative writing teacher at the Sanctuary on 8th Street, a community center in an economically challenged neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. Letson challenges perceptions about race and class as he struggles to connect with the disadvantaged children of the Sanctuary. With Letson’s natural gift for storytelling, Summer in Sanctuary opens the dialogue on America’s dropout epidemic, while sharing the intimate story of a man’s attempt to make a difference in the lives of a group of high-risk kids. Told through monologue, poetry, song, and sound-rich reporting, Summer in Sanctuary takes listeners beyond the statistics to reveal the unseen challenges and complexities facing students in communities across the country.
Al Letson is a playwright, performance poet, actor, and Public Radio host and executive producer whose soul-stirring, interdisciplinary work has received national recognition and built a devoted fan base. In 2008, Letson created, hosted, and executive produced State of the Re:Union (SOTRU). Every episode of SOTRU examined America through the lens of community. Since the program’s inception, SOTRU received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including a Peabody Award (2014), three consecutive National Edward R. Murrow Awards, and many others.
In 2015, SOTRU ended production and Letson joined the Center for Investigative Reporting to help launch and host public radio’s first investigative journalism show, Reveal. The show’s first pilot, “The VA’s Opiate Overload,” won a Peabody Award (2013) for its investigation of the over prescribing of opiates. The program is one of the fastest growing podcasts and shows on Public Radio, heard on more than 300 stations across the country.
A true renaissance man, Letson’s plays and poetry have been performed on stages and TV screens across the country. While it may seem like his interests are varied, they are all aspects of who Al Letson is — a storyteller.