Penn State Beaver invites public to attend free play about racial injustice

Penn State Beaver invites the public to attend a free performance of a bold new play about racial injustice. “Blood at the Root” will be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the auditorium of the Beaver campus Student Union Building.

Due to language and themes, the play is suggested for mature audiences.

The play follows six high school students at fictional Cedar High as they struggle to look beyond their personal experiences in order to view life from another’s perspective. It also examines the miscarriage of justice, double standards and racial inequality. “Blood at the Root” was inspired by the Jena Six, a group of young black men in Louisiana who were charged with attempted murder after beating a white student at Jena High School in 2007. The assault occurred during a schoolyard fight after nooses were hung from a large tree in the center of the school courtyard. The tree was referred to by students as the "white tree,” so when a black student requested to sit under the tree, nooses were hung the following day. The conviction of the Jena Six was cited as an example of racial injustice in the United States, due to widespread belief that the boys had been treated unjustly by being charged with offenses that carried more weight than the assault required.

“Blood at the Root” was written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Steve Broadnax, head of the Graduate Acting Program at Penn State University Park. It was commissioned by the Penn State School of Theatre and features students from the Graduate Acting Program. Last summer “Blood at the Root” toured for three weeks in South Africa, culminating at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The play will continue to tour Penn State campuses and other locations across the country.

“Blood at the Root” is co-sponsored by the Beaver campus Office of Student Affairs and the Beaver campus Student Activity Fee; the Penn State Student Activities Cultural Grant; the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses; the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity; and the College of Arts and Architecture. For information, visit or contact Beaver’s Office of Campus and Community Relations at 724-773-3816 or

Last Updated February 10, 2014