Inside the National Constitution Center: Q&A with Director of Theatre Programs Nora Quinn


Nathan Alford-Tate in FOURTEEN at the National Constitution Center. Photo by Daniel Kontz.

Nathan Alford-Tate in FOURTEEN at the National Constitution Center. Photo by Daniel Kontz.

How are cultural leaders and practitioners addressing artistic and organizational challenges today? And how do they make room for creative and institutional growth while facing shifting audience expectations and consumer behaviors? In this series of interviews with Center grantees, we offer a look inside the practices of many of Philadelphia’s leading cultural institutions and artists, their distinct characters, aspirations, and more.

With support from a Center Project grant, the National Constitution Center (NCC) is presenting FOURTEEN, a theatrical performance that sheds new light on the Reconstruction era and the ratification of the 14th Amendment, which grants equal protection to all US citizens. The performance runs at the Constitution Center Tuesdays through Saturdays from June 19 through August 10 and was designed to complement the NCC’s forthcoming permanent exhibit and gallery devoted to the constitutional legacy of the Civil War. Nora Quinn, Director of Theatre Programs at the NCC, spoke with us about the opportunities that performance presents for audiences to connect with history and how the Constitution Center views the medium in relation to its other programming.

Nora Quinn Q&A Block 1

Nora Quinn Q&A Block 2

Nora Quinn Q&A Block 3

As shows like Hamilton have connected new and often younger audiences to early American history, what opportunities and challenges does the popularity of and openness toward this subject matter present to an organization like the National Constitution Center?

The NCC has seen an increase in attendance both online and onsite in the last few years. We have also seen an increased desire and interest in theater as a part of the museum experience. We have responded by launching more projects utilizing theater and have experimented with pushing the boundaries in styles of the regular museum theater program. This project [FOURTEEN] is an excellent example of just that. Our job is to use the performance to teach more, more than your typical history.

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