From the worn edges of his top hat to the tips of his black shoes, Chris Small is dedicated to bringing Abraham Lincoln to life for the audiences of his living history portrayals of the 16th president.
On the 199th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, Chris Small will bring the life, times, character and values of the 16th president to the stage at Tusculum College. “Mr. Lincoln and Emancipation” will be presented by Small at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the auditorium of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum campus. The presentation, part of the Cicero Lecture Series, will be one of many events at the college to commemorate Black History Month in February.
Small will focus on Lincoln’s emerging views on slavery and emancipation in his presentation, part of Tusculum College Arts Outreach’s Acts, Arts, Academia 2007-08 performance and lecture series.
Passionate about sharing the experience of Abraham Lincoln with audiences, Small has given first-person portrayals of the president since 1997. He is the founder of The Lincoln Project, through which he brings the principles and values of Lincoln to his audiences through living history programs that focus on specific beliefs and periods of the 16th president’s life, encouraging audiences to apply the same timeless character traits found in Lincoln to their lives today.
In addition to the program he is to present at Tusculum, Small presents a variety of historical programs about Lincoln tailored to his audience, whether they are schools and organizations, businesses and corporations, or churches. These programs include an overview of the president’s life, the fascinating story of Lincoln’s barber and what their friendship meant for America, an overview of the Civil War, studies of Lincoln’s leadership and response to his life’s challenges, and presentations about Lincoln’s education, poetry, family, values, faith, and speeches.
Small also performs Herbert Mitgrang’s “Mr. Lincoln,” a full length, one-person play that traces the story of the 16th president from is impoverished boyhood to his fateful assassination. Small first performed the play in 1997 at Andrews University.
The mission of The Lincoln Project is to encourage interest in and study of Abraham Lincoln and his time; make Lincoln more accessible to the general public through living historiography, print, film, and other media; further the academic and professional study of Lincoln presentation; and promote the high moral standards and values for which the 16th president is renowned.
Small has written and performed a number of original scripts about Lincoln and academic papers/presentations incorporating Lincoln presentation, such as “Performance Development: Living Historiography from Scratch,” delivered at the 2005 conference of the Central States Communication Association.
Small has a master’s degree in communication with a specialty in interpretation and performance studies. He is trained in and has directed Bibliodrama, playback theatre and the drama methodologies of Augusto Boal. He is a member of the National Communication Association, the Abraham Lincoln Association, a life member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters and may be found on the National Registry of Living Historians.
In addition to his Lincoln endeavors, Small is the co-founder of Small Associates, LLC, and is an educator who has served as an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, Concordia University, and Washtenaw Community College, along with volunteer service to several K-12 schools.
With a degree in religion and experience as a Christian pastor in the Michigan Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, Small also presents religious programs and seminars including first-person Bible portrayals and interactive Bibliodrama.
Admission to the program is $6. For more information, contact Tusculum College Acts Outreach at (423) 798-1620 or visit its Web site at http://arts.tusculum.edu.
The Acts, Arts, Academia series is presented by Tusculum College Arts Outreach and supported by Dr. Sam Miller in memory of Mary Agnes Ault Miller, Society of Cicero, Hearts for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Arts Outreach.