Opening tonight! At the Live Arts Studio, we are launching our new performing arts program, Jumpstart, which showcases the work of six emerging artists based in the region: Jamarr Hall, Sahar Javedani, Jessica Morgan, The Brothers Beffa (Justin Rose and Scott Sheppard), The Naked Stark (Katherine Kiefer Stark, Megan Stern, and Barbara Tait), and Ilse Zoerb. Jamarr Hall, a Philadelphia native, is a poet, actor, director, comedian, singer, and songwriter. He is 20 years old, and last year helped Philly bring home the first-place trophy in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival. His primary belief is that one must create change within oneself in order to witness social progress. Dirt Roads, the piece he is performing for Jumpstart, tells the story of a veteran who murdered his teenage love after she refused to wait for his return from war, “capturing the madness of love on the back roads of an Alabama town,” says Jamarr. We caught up with him to ask him some questions about his influences, his ideas, and his work.
Live Arts: Why is your show title Dirt Roads?
Jamarr Hall: The reason why my show is titled Dirt Roads is because it’s a reoccurring theme throughout the story that plays a huge role in setting the stage.
LA: What inspired the initial creation of this work?
JH: What really inspired me to create this piece of art was the fact that I always strived to set my self apart from the common crowd of art, so I wanted to exercise all my talents to not only challenge myself but to show other upcoming artist that there really are no limits when it comes to creativity.
LA: Do you remember where you were when you first thought of it?
JH: I remember exactly where I was when I first thought of Dirt Roads. I was lying on the couch watching the television series Heroes.
LA: Where in Philly are you from and what was it like to grow up here?
JH: I am originally from North Philadelphia. Growing up in Philadelphia was like a blessing, honestly. I’ve had some struggles here and good lessons learned. If anything Philly has help mold me to the individual I am today.
LA: What has led you to express yourself in the various ways that you do?
JH: I truly believed that I started performing because I initially found love within self. I had a great sense of pride to know at a young age that being a performer was something I wanted to do.
LA: Can you describe any of your influences, and how you’ve been influenced/inspired by them?
LH: One of my biggest inspirations has been my mother passing at a young age, and leaving me to realize that anything that is able to be loved has to die someday. That’s the only way we learn to appreciate life and all that it has to offer.
LA: As a 20-year-old, do you have a lot of peers (in your age group) who share your interests and modes of artistic expression in as dedicated a way as you do?
LH: Yes I do, but unfortunately not enough to give the world hope that my generation is in fact the change this world begs for.
LA: You describe yourself as an activist. How do you make your activism into your art (when you do)? What are some of the ways that you do so?
LH: One of my first talents is being a spoken word artist, which I really don’t see as being a talent just an example of being able to appropriately express yourself.
I turn my activism into art by taking a story and expressing it in such an engaging way you leave feeling like you want to do something similar. One thing my poetry mentors always told me and it’s been sticking with me ever since has been, “When you perform people may forget your face but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
JUMPSTART, Live Arts Studio,919 North 5th Street (at Poplar),Philadelphia,PA,19123.
Thursday May 31, at 7pm
Friday June 1, at 7pm
Saturday, June 2, at 7pm
$18 for adults, $12 for students and buyers 25-and-under.
Free onsite parking.