Needle Work Musical Drama Coming to Berea College March 26th

Higher Ground will present an original one-act musical drama, Needle Work, at the Phelps Stokes Chapel at 7 p.m., Tuesday March 26, 2019. The performance includes stories collected in eastern Kentucky communities and music from the cast and local musicians. It is free and open to the public.

Needle Work examines the pros and cons of needle exchanges, where substance abusers can exchange dirty syringes for clean ones without fear of legal consequences, as a way of stemming the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

The play centers on a mountain woman who has lost a daughter to drug abuse and who starts a needle exchange out of her home. Her friends are shocked when they find out and dramatic behavior ensues. The play includes comic moments along the way. Songs and stories—both light and heavy-hearted—reflect the humor and beauty present in society’s collective struggle to find the way through difficult circumstances.

Needle Work was commissioned by United for Substance Abuse Prevention (USAP), a Letcher County coalition of community volunteers, including health care providers, partnering agencies, educators and citizens dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of substance abuse in communities. The March 26 performance is supported by a grant from the Chorus Foundation.

Higher Ground is a community performance group coordinated by the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Appalachian Program. Since 2005, Higher Ground has created seven original musical dramas out of oral histories collected in eastern Kentucky. Its shows are performed by community residents featuring local music, celebrating local strength and confronting local challenges.

This event is sponsored by two Berea College centers, the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center (LJAC) and the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS). For more information about the performance, contact Heather Dent at or 859-985-3140.

For more information about Higher Ground, contact Robert Gipe at or 606-620-3913.

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: CELTS, Higher Ground, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, musical, Needle Work, Phelps Stokes Chapel

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.