The Givens Performing Arts Center presents “Strike at the Wind” Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24, at the Givens Performing Arts Center at UNC Pembroke. Showtime for both days is 7:30 p.m.
“This is a legendary performance that has been performed at Pembroke since 1976,” said James Bass, executive director of Givens Performing Arts Center. “It was an outdoor amphitheater drama that went away in 1996 and came back in 1999.”
Bass added that ultimately, Givens has had some ups and downs and the last performance of the play was in 2007. So the performance has been dormant for about 10 years. This year the play will be performed on a stage instead of outdoors.
The return of the performance is a joint effort between The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Recently the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina acquired the rights to the play for three years. “Strike at the Wind” is a story about Henry Berry Lowry, who was considered to be the local Robin Hood that stole from the rich and gave back to the poor.
This dates back into the late 1800s toward the end of the Civil War. “The play is kind of a local legend around here, and for years everybody attended to see it,” said Bass. “It is one of those things that has been a part of Lumbee Homecoming and every year many people were committed to it and would come to see it over and over again.”
Bass added that the Givens director of theater, Dr. Jonathan Drahos, will direct the performance.
In the Depression and in the 1920s, many farmers in Robeson County suffered financial damage. A number of them went to Washington, D.C. to petition for help. “One of the things that came about was the government gave the Lumbee people money to produce a historical pageant,” said Bass. “This was a venue for them to share their heritage and the history of the Lumbee Indians.”
Bass added that there were a lot of people who believed the Lumbee Indians were descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony. This has been disputed since then.
In 1968, a Historical Drama Association was put together in Robeson County to present a drama or historical pageant about the history of the people.
In 1976 “Strike at the Wind” debuted. It was highly successful and the first summer 18,000 people attended the performance. For years, the play was performed every summer.
“There is a lot of excitement about the play, and this is something that has been embraced by the community here,” said Bass. “We look forward to a huge turnout for the performance.”
Ticket cost is $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information, call (910) 521-6361.