Gullah Musical Theatre, food help launch holiday season

An evening of gourmet soul food, Gullah art and crafts, topped off by the rousing original musical, Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish, is scheduled Friday, December 5 at 7 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Center for the Arts.

The full-stage, original musical, is designed to capture the spirit of the Christmas holiday season. The show stars Aunt Pearlie Sue, a nationally acclaimed singer, writer, storyteller and teacher. It also features the Gullah Kinfolk, a cast of 20 professional singers and dancers and is intended for people of all ages and races. The performance takes place during the final Christmas before the Civil War in 1860 shortly after South Carolina seceded from the Union when passions are high with hopes for freedom. The set depicts scenes from Africa, the master’s “big house” and plantation slave quarters.

The show and the persona “Aunt Pearlie” were created by Anita Singleton-Prather, a former teacher and ordained minister whose mission is to preserve Gullah culture and history through her performances. She and her group have appeared many times for school children throughout South Carolina and across the nation. They recently completed the soon-to-be-released film, “Circle Unbroken: The Story of the Gullah People from Africa to America.”

The evening is scheduled to compliment other annual events in Beaufort, including Night on the Town, Light up the Night and a Christmas parade. For more information on these events, visit www.downtownbeaufort.com.

“We want to share our yuletide blessings with great Gullah food, art and foot-stopping singing and dancing,” Singleton-Prather said.

“This was a difficult time in our history, but we focus on the positive and plan on delighting everyone in our audience.”

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Admission is $10 for those aged 7 to 17. Ticket prices include A Taste of Gullah Soul Food Buffet and Da’ Market Place Artists Showcase; an exhibit of paintings by Lowcountry artists.

For more information, reservations or prices for hotel and meal packages, contact the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce at 843-986-1102 or www.bcbcc.org. Tickets may also be purchased by registering at www.Eventbrite.com and searching under “Holiday Sea Island Celebration.”

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the nonprofit, Gullah Traveling Theater, Inc. USCB Center for the Arts is located 801 Carteret Street, Beaufort.

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