Streets of Gold
Western Pennsylvania Coal Fields
“Streets of Gold” is a tale of American turn-of-the-century immigration whose performance attracted the likes of Joe Paterno and Mario Cuomo to speak on its behalf. This epic drama crosses the ocean and back to the many homelands of the region’s rich ethnic population. In doing so, it makes sense of the disconnect that occurred when their ancestors’ desire to be American erased the traditions and beliefs that, for centuries before, had guided their people. The play was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Museum and Historic Commission and the Eberly Foundation.
A more focused version of the show is now being offered as an annual educational tourism project that has the ability to change from year to year in order to highlight the stories of different ethnic groups in the Western Pennsylvania/Northern West Virginia region. The play is designed both to draw tourists to the region and to work with, and help promote, summertime ethnic heritage festivals. Educationally, the production of the play features both writing workshops for area students which are designed to teach the process of creative writing while researching and learning about their area history in the process. Workshops will continue through the production with the same goal of teaching area history, as well as providing students with an overview of all aspects of theater production, including acting, marketing and technical support. The teaching process will continue for students who want hands-on experience acting in, or working on, the show.
Trips vary with the ethnic group being focused on each year. For the Italians, the trip to Southern Italy passes through Naples toward Calabria and Basilicata, the least touristy area in Italy, but with spectacular untouched scenery, of hilltop towns and exotic beaches. Calabria’s mountains cascading into the spectacular Mediterranean and Ionian Sea make it one of the few places in the world where you can ski and swim in the same day. Points of interest include the fresco-covered seaside town of Diamante; Maratea, Italy’s version of Rio de Janeiro; and the ancient city of Matera, where The Passion of the Christ was filmed. New trips will be scheduled to different parts of the world as other groups are featured.
Perform Streets of Gold
World Communities is looking for partners to realize the vision of “Streets of Gold” as a cultural heritage and educational project in Western Pennsylvania/Northern West Virginia. Organizations outside that area who are interested in performing “Streets of Gold” as an iconic work depicting an important period of American history can perform the script or contract with World Communities to have it produced in their area. World Communities will also create and host travel opportunities to the European nations where the immigrant story began.