Landon Roberts, Contributing Writer
The Richmond Catholic Theater embarked on a 12-hour project on Saturday with the hopes to reconnect immigrant families at the Mexican-American border.
“The Peter Pan Project” was organized by Christine Arena, the managing artistic director of the Richmond Catholic Theater. The project gave all participants from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. to build sets and coordinate a performance of the classic story “Peter Pan.”
All of the event’s proceeds, which reached $1000, were given to three charities: Immigrant Families Together, The Annunciation House and The Catholic Relief Services.
Each charity focuses on a different aspect of immigration. Immigrant Families Together focuses on reconnecting families at the Mexican-American border, The Annunciation House focuses on education and hospitality toward refugees, and The Catholic Relief Services offer health care to people seeking asylum.
“Last summer, there was a lot of press about the situation at the border,” Arena said. “Politics aside, I’m talking about the dignity of the human person that really wasn’t addressed.”
Arena said her Roman Catholic faith could not allow her to sit aside during the crisis.
“We chose Peter Pan because it has a childlike part to it,” Arena said. “But as you are getting deeper into it, you can see the dangers that are in the midst of this world, as well as kind of the fantasy that’s positive.”
Participants went into the project with hopes of reaching the donation goal.
“I really wanted to help out and be part of this because it’s such a great organization and I really wanted to be a part of that,” said Tamira Bolling, one of the younger participants.
Audience members had positive things to say about the performance and its cause after the curtains closed.
“The play has to do with children being separated from their family and growing and how it’s fair to grow up in a familiar environment rather than by yourself,” VCU student Justin Eric McHenry said. “I could definitely see how the play is connected to their cause.”
Arena said she wants to make this either an annual or semi-annual project in the future.
To learn more about the Peter Pan Project and any upcoming events, visit richmondcatholictheatre.com.