Down in Mississippi

Oct. 3 & 4, 2020

Saturday at 7:30 pm on Zoom
Sunday at 7:00 pm on Zoom

Following the performance, the playwright Carlyle Brown and Todd London will talk about the play, voting rights, and theater.

Tickets: Free but registration is required.
Ticket sales cut-off one hour before the start time (6:30pm CST on October 3; 6:00pm CST on October 4).

presented virtually in partnership with Illusion Theater

Down in Mississippi takes place during the Freedom Summer campaign to register African-Americans to vote in the dangerous, segregated world of Mississippi in 1964. It explores the transformational experiences of three young civil rights activists who leave their safe northern homes to go down to Mississippi to try to change the world and discover that before they can change the world they will have to change themselves. A celebration of a movement that gave birth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965.


first presented at the East Side Freedom Library in East Saint Paul in 2017

Written by Carlyle Brown
Directed by Noël Raymond


Mikell Sapp as Jimmy
Tony Sarnicki as John
Adelin Phelps as Ellen
Mari Harris as singer / Fanny Lou Hamer


Amy Finch – Keyboard/ Arranger
Jeff Milligan-Toffler – Guitarist

Designers & Crew

Lighting design by Mike Wangen
Sound design by C. Andrew Mayer
Costume design by Clare Brauch
Prop design & instillation art by Kellie Larson
Stage Management by April Harding

Down in Mississippi was first presented March 23 through April 8, 2017, at the East Side Freedom Library in East Saint Paul.

This production of Down in Mississippi is a partnership with Carlyle Brown & Company and the East Side Freedom Library, a non-profit organization in an historic Carnegie Library with a focus on immigration, labor, African American and social justice history. Down in Mississippi was originally commissioned by the Theater Department in the School of Fine Arts and the Center for American and World Cultures, Miami University in Ohio, home of Western Women’s College where Freedom Summer activists were trained in non-violence and made ready to face the dangerous world of Mississippi in 1964. Down in Mississippi was developed with support from the Playwrights’ Center and the Guthrie Theater.

Performances took place promenade-style in the reading room of the East Side Freedom Library where the audience was both surrounded and immersed in events of the past that resonate with the state of the current social and political tensions. Our intention was not only to make a little known history more accessible, but to also generate a conversation between the past and the present, to encourage young people concerned with racism today to consider the personal and political motivations and the struggles of their counterparts a half a century ago. Collateral programs were designed to deepen the conversations with screening of two films, Let Freedom Sing and Freedom on My Mind, along with panels with a mix of civil rights movement veterans and contemporary activists.

We need your help to produce DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI

Dear Friends,

Our new play, Down in Mississippi, speaks to our troubling times from 50 years ago where young people, black and white, from all over the country came together and put their lives on the line to register Negros to vote in Mississippi. They believed that the right to vote could change the world. They were non-violent combatants in a war for justice, a struggle that clearly continues to this day.

Down in Mississippi endeavors to make a contribution to that struggle by telling a story about what it means to be an activist, what it means to resist.

We are seeking your support to help us bring this story into the world. Whatever you can give–in any amount, large or small–towards our goal of $6,200 will make a difference:

Make a donation today.

With thanks,

Mari Harris on Down in Mississippi


Down in Mississippi Cast


Down in Mississippi – Carlyle Brown & Co. Video Appeal.


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