Concurrent with each mainstage production, Burning Coal will present one or more lectures conducted by guest scholars on topics central to the theme of the play being presented. These lectures will be presented at 6:00 pm prior to the play performance and will be free to anyone holding a reservation for any performance of the play (limited seating – availability on first come, first served basis).

Evelyn Thomas: Original Cast Member of Broadway’s THE WIZ!

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Dec 11, 2015

Lecture by Evelyn Thomas

6:00 pm

Prior to  


Friday, December 11th at 6 pm.  Evelyn Thomas, original cast member of the Broadway production of THE WIZ!

Evelyn Thomas

Evelyn Thomas is an  internationally acclaimed dance educator and award winning choreographer.   She is Founder & Artistic Director of Nuba Dance Theatre; one of the region’s first multi-generational dance companies in the Bay Area.

Thomas is a visionary artist, art educator and a consummate professional riveting brilliant choreography. She brings a contemporary multi-ethnic approach to dance.

Thomas’ commitment to dance stems from her early training at the Julliard school and the Broadway production of the WIZ as the original Tornado.  The WIZ is currently celebrating its 40th Year Anniversary at the Majestic Theater in NYC. 

Mental Health Care in America: Past, Present and Future

Oct 24, 2015

Lecture by Marci White

Lecture begins at 6:00, Q&A at 6:30

Prior to  


Executive Director of Mental Health America of the Triangle Marci White will give a lecture on the history of the public mental health system in America, the kinds of infrastructural challenges it has faced, and what we can do to support individuals living with mental illness in our own communities. The lecture will begin at 6:00pm with a question and answer session beginning at 6:30. Any ticket holders for ASYLUM are invited to attend the lecture free of charge.



Marci White, MSW has more than 30 years’ experience working on behalf of children, adolescents and young adults with serious emotional and behavioral problems in North Carolina’s mental health service systems. She has worked for mental health providers, state agencies, and the federal courts in North Carolina; and she has provided consultation and advocacy to develop community and family-based mental health services in other states.

In addition to developing and managing family-based mental health services, Marci has held several roles related to mental health training: developing, supervising, providing and coordinating initial and ongoing training for staff and managers and for therapeutic foster parents about the direct practice and supervision skills needed for the range of community-based mental health/developmental disability services provided through a comprehensive behavioral health agency.

Ms. White was responsible for ensuring that the children identified as the result of North Carolina’s Willie M. lawsuit received the services to which they were entitled under the court agreement (1981 – 1998). The lawsuit was a right-to-treatment action for children and adolescents who had severe emotional, neurological, or mental conditions; were violent and aggressive; were or would be in need of residential or other community and family-based treatment and educational/vocational services; and for whom the State had not provided appropriate services. As part of her role, Ms. White supervised and established best practices for services, and monitored service outcomes for residential and community-based programs for youth in foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. After 17 years as a class action lawsuit, the federal court ruled in January 1998, that the State had complied with the consent decree and that federal court jurisdiction was no longer required.

Ms. White has been a Clinical Instructor with the UNC-School of Social Work, serving as Field Faculty for MSW students in their field placements in community human service agencies. She was the Field Seminar leader for Foundation students, addressing topics related to students’ experiences in field placement and professional development as social workers. Marci has demonstrated her commitment to individuals and their families living with mental health and substance abuse problems through her expertise, advocacy, education and support. She has worked to instill that same commitment and expertise in students, professionals and volunteers with whom she has worked and brings that to join us at MHAT. Marci received her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master of Social Work, specializing in direct mental health practice from the University of North Carolina.


Past Productions & Events

The following shows/events have passed.


Marriage in the Age of Shakespeare

Lecture by Matthew Lubin & Ian Finley

Prior to  

Romeo & Juliet

Join Burning Coal for a pre-show discussion with two scholars in the field, Matthew Lubin (Duke) and Ian Finley, Burning Coal’s director of education from 2003 to 2011.  Where exactly did our idea of marriage come from?  And how long has it been around?

Matthew Lubin (Duke University History Department) will speak about how scholars think marriage and family feuds actually worked in late medieval Verona, the setting for Romeo and Juliet.

Ian Finley (Piedmont Laureate, 2012) will explore Shakespeare’s use of rhetoric and how it reveals the marital tensions and family dynamics of the play.

[Free with ticket to any performance of ROMEO & JULIET ($5 otherwise)]

How Conflict Resolution Works or Falls Apart

Burning Coal Theatre Company welcomes Robert (Bob) M. Jenkins, Ph.D., Director of the UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies for a discussion entitled How Conflict Resolution Works or Falls Apart.  This 50 minute discussion is open to anyone with a ticket for any performance of the Iron Curtain Trilogy ($5 for others).  NOTE: This event will take place on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm at the Iron Curtain Trilogy Warehouse, 117 S. West Street, Raleigh.

Listening to the Place

Burning Coal Theatre Company welcomes Andrea F. Bohlman, Ph.D., UNC-CH Assistant Professor of Music for a pre-show discussion entitled Listening to the Place.  This 50 minute discussion is open to anyone with a ticket for any performance of the Iron Curtain Trilogy ($5 for others).  NOTE: This event will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm at the Iron Curtain Trilogy Warehouse, 117 S. West Street, Raleigh.

Memory of a Multiethnic Past in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

Burning Coal Theatre Company welcomes University of North Carolina Department of History professor Karen Auerbach for a pre-show discussion entitled Memory of a Multiethnic Past in Post-Communist Eastern Europe.  This 50 minute discussion is open to anyone with a ticket for any performance of the Iron Curtain Trilogy ($5 for others).  NOTE: This event will take place on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm at the Iron Curtain Trilogy Warehouse, 117 S. West Street, Raleigh.

Professor Auerbach’s research focuses on the social history of Polish Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth century, especially issues relating to Jewish integration, urban life, and the evolution of Polish Jewish identifications. Her first book, published in 2013, is a microhistory of Jewish families who were neighbors in an apartment building in Warsaw after the Holocaust, exploring the reconstruction of communities and identifications in postwar Poland. She is currently researching the history of Jewish publishers of Polish books in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, in particular their involvement in Polish cultural, social and political circles, as well as information networks and the history of Yiddish in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust. Auerbach’s teaching focuses on modern Jewish history, East European Jewish History and the Holocaust. (information obtained from UNC Department of History’s website)

Musicologist and Author of Violins of Hope

Apr 12, 2014

Lecture by Dr. James A. Grymes

Internationally regarded musicologist Dr. James A. Grymes of Charlotte, NC will speak on Saturday, April 12th at 6 pm about his soon to be published book Violins of Hope.  Tickets are $5 at the door or FREE for anyone holding a ticket to any performance of Burning Coal’s The Diary of Anne Frank (April 3 – 27).  The talk will take place at Burning Coal’s theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC.  For details, please call 919.834.4001.

James A. Grymes is an internationally respected musicologist, a critically acclaimed author, and a dynamic speaker who has addressed audiences at settings ranging from prestigious academic conferences to significant public venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Dr. Grymes is Professor of Musicology and Interim Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

A leading authority on the Hungarian musician Ernst von Dohnányi, a forgotten hero of the Holocaust resistance who was later falsely accused of Nazi war crimes, Dr. Grymes is currently writing a book titled Violins of Hope.  A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust and the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life.  Violins of Hope will be published by HarperCollins in August 2014.

Rise of the Puppets

Dec 14, 2013

Lecture by Pamela Shook

Prior to  

(Three Man) Tempest

Burning Coal Theatre Company will hold its second “Lobby Lecture” of the 2013/2014 season, “Rise of the Puppets”, which will feature Pamela Shook of Blue Moon Puppets speaking on “The Rise of Puppetry as a Popular Art Form”, in conjunction with its current production, (Three Man) Tempest by William Shakespeare. The event will take place at 6 pm on Saturday, December 14th, 2013 at Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh. Tickets are $5 or free to anyone holding a ticket to any performance of (Three Man) Tempest and may be obtained at the door only.

(Three Man) Tempest continues its run at Burning Coal Theatre from December 5 – 22, 2013. 

Pamela Shook began her puppetry career with Atlanta’s Piccadilly Puppets in 1988. She found her way into puppetry through children’s theatre, and discovered that through this one magical medium, she could develop all her passions: acting, writing, music and visual arts. For six years she performed with Piccadilly while freelancing with other Atlanta theatres and puppet companies, including the Center for Puppetry Arts. In 1994, while performing with Suzy Ferriss at the Henson International Festival of Puppetry in NYC, she decided to start Blue Moon Puppets with her husband, fellow puppeteer Stephen Clifford.

Blue Moon (named during an actual blue moon)has been touring since 1995, performing multicultural and science-based children’s shows at festivals, libraries, schools and museums. Pamela and Stephen have appeared at venues from Piccolo Spoleto to the Kennedy Center. Pamela has also created custom puppets for theatres, film and video across the Southeast. This year, she wrote, produced, and created puppets for five puppet shows for Discovery Place museum in Charlotte, and helped train their staff to perform these permanent shows.

Global Climate Change Panel Discussion

Sep 21, 2013

Prior to  The Heretic

Burning Coal Theatre Company will hold its first “Lobby Lecture” of the 2013/2014 season, a panel discussion on the subject of global climate change, in conjunction with its current production, The Heretic by Richard Bean. The event will take place at 6 pm on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh.  Tickets are $5 or free to anyone holding a ticket to any performance of The HereticRead More »

Paul Reid

Jan 31, 2013

Lecture by Paul Reid

Prior to  


After stints in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a worker in a cat-food factory, blue-grass guitarist, cab driver, bartender, and counselor at a home for emotionally disturbed children, Paul Reid and his brother bought a small steam-valve manufacturing business in Newtonville, Mass. In the early 1990s, after selling his share of the company, Reid began writing political commentary for local Massachusetts newspapers, which led to a regular op-ed column at the Boston Globe. As a free-lance writer he covered the Yugoslav civil war, narco-terrorism in Colombia, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.  He graduated from Harvard University Extension School in 1990 with a bachelor of Liberal Arts cum laude.  In 1996 Reid joined The Palm Beach Post, a Cox newspaper, as a features writer.   Read More »