Every day in America, more than 7,000 students drop out of public school. Actor and playwright Al Letson’s explores America’s dropout epidemic through the intimate story of one man’s attempt to make a difference in the lives of a group of high-risk kids. SUMMER IN SANCTUARY is an autobiographical narrative that chronicles Letson’s experiences one summer working as a creative writing teacher at the Sanctuary on 8th Street, a community center in an economically challenged neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. A celebrated off-Broadway hit, SUMMER is told through monologue, poetry, song and sound-rich reporting. SUMMER challenges perceptions about race, class and education, taking listeners beyond the statistics to reveal the unseen challenges and complexities facing students in communities across the country.
Currently, SUMMER IN SANCTUARY is presented at The Marsh in Berkley, California. The Marsh is a self-described “breeding ground for new performance.” The show opened October 21 and will close November 26.
Tickets: $20 – $35 sliding scale | $55 and $100 Reserved Seating
October 21 – November 26
Dark Nights: November 4
Fridays at 8pm | Saturdays at 8:30pm
85 minutes | No Intermission | Ages 14+ | Please do not bring infants to the show
For more information on the sliding scale ticketing policy, late seating and reserved seating please click here.
Al Letson is an American poet, playwright, performer and radio host. He hosted and produced the State of the Union, distributed by National Public Radio (NPR). In 2000 he won the Atlanta Grand Slam and placed third in the National Poetry Slam competition. In 2006 he featured in an episode of the HBO series Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam. In mid-2013, he did early voice recording as the MC announcer for the feature-length traditionally animated film, Dawgtown.
Letson subsequently shifted to playwriting and acting, and in 2001 he produced his first one-man show, Essential Personnel, for the local Jacksonville stage. The show earned him commissions for his work and performances across the country. In 2004 the Baltimore School for the Arts commissioned him to write Chalk, a “poetical” combining stage acting with poetry. Other plays include Griot and Julius X, a retelling of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar set in Harlem in 1965.
In 2007 Letson discovered a radio competition called the Public Radio Talent Quest on a whim. The program, organized by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The five-round competition started with more than 1,400 applicants and was voted on by fans, professionals and celebrity judges. Letson submitted a pilot for State of the Re:Union, and was chosen as one of the three winners. The first season of State of the Re:Union aired in 2010. It was renewed for a second season, which began airing in June 2012. The show ended in 2015. Letson also hosts Reveal, a podcast from PRX and the Center for Investigative Reporting, currently in its pilot stage.