The making of history

ST. PETERSBURG — “The Making of Decades of Day Work” opens Tues., Nov. 11 at the Studio@620, 620 First Avenue South in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m.  The directors of “Decades of Day Work,” the popular theatrical series about the real “help,” sit down for an interview with attorney and journalist Jaye Ann Terry.

Directors Dr. Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon will talk candidly about the difficulties and joys of gathering stories from the family members of black maids and white employers. The audience will hear the story behind these amazing stories and see video clips of the storytellers— shared for the first time.

Dunlap is the daughter of a black maid who worked for white families in Chicago from the 50s through the 70s. Sheldon grew up white in the 70’s and 80’s in rural upstate New York.  Together they were welcomed into people’s homes and given access to precious photographs. And, together they heard people break their silence about the sometimes complex relationships that grew up between black workers and the white people who hired them.

The “Decades of Day Work” series is produced by Your Real Stories (YRS), a 501(c)(3) organization. Professional actors present the scripted accounts of the storytellers in the first half of the shows, complete with music and a set designed with the archival photographs.

Then, Terry moderates a panel of the original storytellers during the second half.  “The Making of Decades of Day Work” provides a peek at what it takes to get and present personal stories. It is also the third event in the YRS 2014-2015 season.

In September, Your Real Stories collaborated with the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum to present, “My Soul Looks Back:  The Decades of Day Work Photographic Exhibit.”   This was followed by the first YRS “Story Days in Tampa Bay” featuring storytelling seminars in St. Petersburg at the Woodson, with USF St. Petersburg and in Tampa at the Tampa Museum of Art. A second photographic exhibit is scheduled for March 11-17 2015 at Studio@620 in anticipation of “Decades of Day Work V,” March 25-27 2015 at freeFall Theatre in St Petersburg.

“Very special and enlightening.”  “Powerful…extremely well told…(an) important contribution to social healing.” That’s what audiences say about the “Decades of Day Work” series.

Plan to join us for an intimate evening with the directors and storytellers at Studio@620, Tues., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets for “The Making of Decades of Day Work” are available online at and at the door.

Purchasing a ticket helps both Your Real Stories and the Studio@620 continues these amazing programs in St. Petersburg. General Admission: $15   Students and Seniors: $10

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