Stokes County’s newest cultural venue, The Arts Place of Stokes, will host the North Carolina premiere of Darryl Van Leer’s award winning one man theatrical performance titled Mandela: Let Freedom Reign on Saturday, February 25 beginning at 7pm. Dessert will begin at 6pm, sponsored by Edward Jones of Walnut Cove.
The play is based on the life of South African President Nelson Mandela. The performance opens with vocal narration telling the story of the early life of Mandela leading up to his equal rights struggle against apartheid. With grand courtroom windows as the backdrop, Van Leer as Mandela delivers his “I Am Prepared to Die” statement from the dock at the Rivonia Supreme Court trial prior to being sentenced to life in prison. Next, the audience travels to Robben Island Penitentiary with a scene titled “The Dark Years” and finding Mandela sitting in a cold jail cell describing his twenty-seven years in prison. The outcry opposing apartheid soon reaches the international community and finds Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in London about Mandela’s unjust imprisonment and the atrocities of apartheid. With great jubilation enshrined with music, the audience witnesses Mandela’s victorious release from prison. The play closes triumphantly as The Republic of South Africa’s first democratically elected Black President, Nelson Mandela, delivers his world renowned “Inaugural Address.”
Actor Darryl Van Leer is no stranger to Stokes County, as he has previously toured Ruby Cat Lawson’s Roadhouse Lounge, a musical tribute to rhythm and blues legends Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and others, and Power On Earth, a dramatic presentation based on the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Malcolm X.
“I am honored to be returning to North Carolina to perform once again for the Stokes County Arts Council” said Van Leer. “The people there inspire me to take my performances to the highest level possible, and their hospitality is second to none.” “I love Stokes County” he concluded.
The Arts Place of Stokes is located at 502 North Main Street in Danbury. Admission is $10 for Stokes Arts Members, $12 General Admission, and $5 for Students. Contact the Stokes County Arts Council at 336 593-8159 for ticket reservation or more information.