We create art that explores and inspires the possibility of living in harmony with nature and with one another. We devise and perform site-specific theater, collaborate & direct community-based story projects and curate creative experiences of many kinds on Clear Creek & beyond.
Ezell: Ballad of A Land Man (Work in Progress)
Ezell: Ballad of A Land Man is a devised solo theatrical work by Robert Martin exploring white men in Appalachia and trauma associated with forms of domination behavior, land “ownership” and the extractive resource industry. The central character, Ezell, is faced with a choice when offered a job to buy mineral rights on behalf of the oil & gas industry in anticipation of a fracking boom and the chance to reconnect with the people and land of his raising. The character of Ezell first appeared in the ensemble-devised Land, Water, Food Story performances and Where's That Power Gonna Come From? The development of Ezell has been supported by an artist residency at Double Edge Theater (Ashfield, MA) and is being directed by Nick Slie (Mondo Bizarro, New Orleans, LA). Work-in-progress versions of Ezell were shared in 2018 during the Clear Creek Solstice Spectacle, at ROOTS Week in Arden, North Carolina and at the Hurricane Gap Community Performance Institute at Pine Mountain Settlement School. We anticipate premiering the full performance on Clear Creek in 2019.
Where's that Power Gonna Come From?
Where's that Power Gonna Come From is a 30-minute touing adaptation of Land, Water, Food Story, an original creative work inspired by the Just Transition from an extractive resource economy to a resilient, renewable future. The piece explores the issue of fracking from multiple vantages and invites us all to action in defending and celebrating the land. The piece was created of, by and for our community and others seeking to understand and activate ourselves as part of a just Appalachian Transition.
Where's That Power Gonna Come From? was performed for a series of events throughout the state organized by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to inspire and develop a clean energy plan for Kentucky and also at numerous community venues and festivals including First Friday Berea. It is directed by Bob Martin with music direction by Robert Rorrer and performed by Mitch Barrett, Carrie Brunk, Jacob Graber, Bob Martin, Kayla Preston, Robert Rorrer, Mirra Shapiro, and Melody Youngblood with occasional guest artists including Nicole Garneau. Read an article by Nicole Garneau featuring the presentation of Where's That Power Gonna Come From? and a workshop co-led by Clear Creek Creative entitled "Beyond Coal and Toward New Power" at ROOTS Week (Arden, NC).
Land, Water, Food Story
Land, Water, Food Story is a performative walk in the woods guided by musicians, dancers, and theatre makers intended to offer a visceral awakening in relation to the land, water, food and story of Clear Creek at one moment in time. Elements of song, story, spoken word and ceremony are offered amidst a guided walk in the woods interspersed with a multi-course farm-fresh feast. Dozens of artists, musicians and community members in and around the Clear Creek community collaborated to explore our stories and changing connection to one another and the land, water and food of Kentucky. Food accompanying each scene of the performance was sourced from local farmers, foragers and food producers.
Images from the second production of Land, Water Food Story at Clear Creek (photos by Bear Hebert)
Contributing artists and community members include Mitch Barrett, Carrie Brunk, Adam Burke, Bethany Cook, Judith Faulkner, Jacob Graber, Heather Lundy, Bob Martin, Meta Mendel-Reyes, Sarah Miller, Kayla Preston, Robert Rorrer, Mirra Shapiro, Jessie Wilhite, Leah Van Winkle and Melody Youngblood. Numerous local farms, growers and other community members as well as visiting artists were integral to the creation and offering of this work along with the support of Alternate ROOTS’ Parters in Action program. Read an article by Carrie Brunk that describes the threat of hydro-fracking on Clear Creek and the community response and artistic exchanges that partially inspired these productions in The Land Man and a Love For. Images from the 2014 production of Land, Water, Food Story during a Midsummer's Eve. (photos by Melisa Cardona)
Images from the 2014 production of Land, Water, Food Story during a Midsummer's Eve. (photos by Melisa Cardona)
On the Creek
In our first years at Clear Creek, we gathered oral histories from neighbors and long-time residents in a project we called On the Creek. Over several years, we developed a series of original short plays that were performed during the Clear Creek Festival each year to share some of those stories including:
A Tree Called Earl. The story of a wiley character who lived on and off the Creek, considered locally part homeless wanderer and part truth-teller of stories otherwise untold. Directed by Bob Martin and performed by Mitch Barrett as Earl with Tammy Clemons, Bob Martin, Carol O'Brien, Jaleah Owens, and Robert Rorrer.
Alice. The story of an early 20th century midwife who preceded us on site and hand-dug the stone root cellar that now serves as an altar. Directed by Bob Martin and performed by Carol O'Brien as Alice with Mitch Barrett, Tammy Clemons, Bob Martin, Moose Morgan, Ron Owens, and Robert Rorrer.
Stories from the Still. A composite of numerous characters and stories about moonshining as the early work of building a local economy in Appalachia. Directed by Bob Martin and performed by Mitch Barrett, Bob Martin, Moose Morgan and Robert Rorrer.
Community Story Plays Directed by Bob Martin
Bob Martin works with communities to engage the power of people to shape our own stories and create a future of hope & abundance for all. He has directed and co-written community story plays with hundreds of people in Harlan, Owsley, Rockcastle, Letcher, Clay and Estill Counties of Kentucky as well as co-devising and directing community story film projects in Brooklyn, NY. Bob draws on his experience in Community-Based/Community-Engaged Theater, Theater for Community Development, Site-Specific Theater, Applied Theater, and Educational Theater and Community Performance to guide his work with communities. He has also taught and provided training in community story work to community producers through the Kentucky Arts Council, Brushy Fork Institute and Hurricane Gap Community Performance Institute.