New Ground Revival was created during a 1995-1996 cultural exchange with The Performing Arts League of Choteau, Montana. Each theater company wrote and performed a play for its own community and for the other's community.
Roadside's play, New Ground Revival, dramatizes the conflict between the Appalachian tradition that holds the land as sacred against modern pressures to abandon that tradition for economic gain. The performance includes original and traditional songs, sung in Appalachian Mountain harmony style, accompanied by different combinations of banjo, fiddle, accordion, and guitar.
The play was created in collaboration with the Mullins Family Singers of Dickenson County, Virginia. For over 150 years, the Mullins family has provided a strong musical voice in the mountains by passing along a tradition of family harmony singing begun by Enoch Mullins who taught shape note singing in the 1800s.The tradition was founded on Celtic and Gaelic ballads and fiddle tunes and influenced by Native American, African, and eastern and southern European traditions.
At a 1996 New Ground Revival performance at Lincoln Center’s “Irish Imagination Meets Appalachian Genius Festival,” Roadside was delighted to learn how conscious the Irish singers and storytellers were of the traditions they share with Appalachia.