A local story. A Hancher Commission.

Imagine a Midwestern community—a relatively small, overwhelmingly white, well-educated, and culturally-engaged college town, perhaps—that prides itself on its acceptance of diversity. Then imagine an influx of immigrants from a neighboring metropolis coming to that community, bringing with them new opportunities as well as new challenges.

Hancher has partnered with playwright Sean Christopher Lewis and Working Group Theatre to create Mayberry, a new work that will explore the impact of Iowa City’s increasing African American population. A look at the fall out of housing projects being torn down in Chicago and where those displaced residents went… It’s an Iowa story with national implications, asking how, in an enlightened world, do we embrace and engage in true discourse about living together in communities in transition.

“And my mom called me and said, ‘You gots to escape Chicago honey and come to Iowa. It’s like Mayberry out here.’ And I said, ‘Mom! There ain’t no black folks in Mayberry…'”


“Brilliant… important… relevant anywhere and everywhere in this American melting pot, where race, religion, ethnicity and gender issues have been shaking up our sense of community since whites first landed on these shores.”Cedar Rapids Gazette


“Our View: Hoping New Play Sparks Conversation (Editorial)”- Press Citizen

“Working To Create A New Mayberry” Iowa Press Citizen

“Bold Hancher Commission Looks At Race Relations”- Cedar Rapids Gazette

“Holding a Mirror Up To Iowa City”- Iowa Press Citizen

“Mayberry Covers Class and Ethnic Issues”- Daily Iowan


“Mayberry on Talk of Iowa (Iowa Public Radio)

Tour Dates

Feb. 23, 2013
Iowa Arts Center
Council Bluffs, Iowa

May 3, 2012
Bucksbaum Performing Arts Center
@ Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa

May 1, 2012
Community Performance at Southeast Junior High
with Broadway Community Center and Crossing Borders
Iowa City, IA

April 27-29 (SOLD OUT)
Hancher Auditorium
Iowa City, IA

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