Conner Prairie’s Follow the North Star program to return April 20

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Conner Prairie interpreter Yara Hairston leads a Follow the North Star program. (Submitted photo)

Conner Prairie’s program depicting slavery and the journey for freedom along the Underground Railroad in 1836 will return for its 20th season from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 20, 21, 27 and 28.

“Follow the North Star is an immersive, participatory museum theater experience where we invite visitors to assume the role of an enslaved person seeking freedom in 1836 on the Underground Railroad,” said Catherine Hughes, director of museum theater and research at Conner Prairie. “You encounter a variety of characters that are people representing different attitudes and perspectives from that day. Some are friendly, and some are not.”

Participants go through an orientation prior to the program and a debrief after. Participants must be 12 or older. Those under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

During orientation, all participants receive a white fabric and are advised that if the event becomes too intense, they are to tie the fabric around their heads. If used, they will still experience the program but from a more-removed position. Participants using the fabric can opt to remove it again to rejoin the program. Typically, participating groups consist of 15 to 17 people.

Many participants are from local schools.

“The majority of our audience has developed organically into school groups because (the subject matter) ties in with eighth grade and 11th-grade Indiana history curriculum,” Hughes said. “It’s a very powerful experience, so teachers have really committed themselves to the program for many years because they saw such a great response in their students.”

Tickets are $17 to $20 and can be purchased at connerprairie.org.

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