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Swamp Gravy Update

26apr7:00 pm8:30 pmSwamp Gravy UpdateGeorgia’s official state folklife play.

Event Details



Swamp Gravy…Georgia’s official state folklife play.


Join us Tuesday, April 26 for a dialogue with Joy Jinks co-founder of Swamp Gravy and Will Murdock Artistic Director. Swamp Gravy is an example of an art-based community revitalization strategy. Dialogue with the founders and explore how cultural dynamics can lead to transformation.

Hear about the beginning

Explore how the play has continued for 30 years

Identify the cultural dynamics


The Presenters

*  Joy Jinks has been associated with ICA and Social Artistry for over 30 years.  She is a pioneer in the field of economic and social development. 

*. Will Murdock grew up in Swamp Gravy and left to gain his theatre degree.  Following a time in New York City he returned to Swamp Gravy to be the Artistic Director.

 *. Jan Sanders will host and lead a closing reflection on cultural transformation through the arts.



Swamp Gravy, established in 1992, is Georgia’s Official Folk-Life Play.  The show features local stories, volunteer actors, and home-grown music. Swamp Gravy is performed in Colquitt, Georgia at the Cotton Hall Theater every October and March, with new scripts produced annually.  Swamp Gravy’s mission is to involve as many people as possible in a theatrical experience that empowers the individual, bonds the community and strengthens the local economy while crossing the boundaries of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and social class.


The play had its origins in a chance meeting at a New York conference in 1990 between Joy Jinks of Colquitt and Richard Owen Geer, at that time a doctoral student in performance studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Jinks expressed her concern about Miller County’s economic decline and the growing number of southwest Georgia youths who left the region after graduation. When she mentioned that her community wanted to do a play celebrating its history, Geer told her of his dissertation research on performance as a community-building tool and suggested that they work together to develop a play for Colquitt based on stories from the lives of Miller County residents.


When Swamp Gravy Sketches opened to rave reviews in fall 1992, the cast consisted completely of local residents. After more than thirty performances around the state in 1993, Swamp Gravy received a 1994 Cultural Olympiad Award in Atlanta and was performed there in 1996 at the Olympic Games and later at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


Storytelling is at the heart of Swamp Gravy. According to Geer, “Northerners tell stories in private and call it therapy. Southerners tell stories in public and call it swapping lies.” Each performance of Swamp Gravy begins with the lyrics, “You’ve got a story and I’ve got a story. We’ve all got a story to tell.” Concluding the performance is a candlelight roll call of deceased storytellers and characters as the 90- to 100-member cast hums “Amazing Grace.”



If you are interested in attending this event, send an email to Jan Sanders at and she will send you a zoom link.



Please click on the blue TIME link below to see when this event happens in your time zone.



(Tuesday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm(GMT-05:00) View in my time

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