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Community Event


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October 06, 2023

7:30 pm

Charleston Gaillard Center


The Charleston Gaillard Center is proud to present its first ever produced theatrical work. Based on the awe-inspiring life of South Carolina’s own Robert Smalls, FINDING FREEDOM: The Journey of Robert Smalls, a new play by Teralyn Reiter, celebrates and chronicles the remarkable story and legacy of a great American hero. Born enslaved on the McKee Plantation in Beaufort, SC a young Robert Smalls is sent off to Charleston to work on the docks of the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War. Trusted by his family, and crewmates and determined beyond his circumstances, on a foggy night, in the early hours of May 13, 1862, Robert changes the course of his destiny and history when he seizes the Confederate’s USS Planter and steers it into the Union Blockade off the coast of Charleston Harbor. Infusing music, media, and movement, FINDING FREEDOM paints the early years of a bright-eyed Robert Smalls enslaved in Beaufort; learning the land, waters, and Gullah traditions of his mother, his daring and heroic commandeering of the USS Planter through the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War, to his later life of advocacy in the US House of Representatives. Featuring original music composed by Charleston native, Charlton Singleton, FINDING FREEDOM: The Journey of Robert Smalls is Directed by JaMeeka Holloway with a Creative Design team of Artists all hailing from the South. Join us for an unforgettable storytelling and cultural experience where a young Robert Small is sent from Beaufort to Charleston on a journey that transforms him from man to Hero.