Artist to Tell Story of Bethlehem Steel at UTC

Jay O’Callahan, a professional storyteller, takes a bare stage and single-handedly transforms it into a dynamic and sensitive world filled with compelling characters. On Thursday, September 12 at 8 p.m., he will bring his most recent production to the UTC campus in a free performance at the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center. Sponsors for the event include the UTC SunTrust Chair of Excellence and the UTC Women’s Action Council. Commissioned by Lehigh University, O’Callahan took three years to investigate and write "Pouring the Sun," a play that commemorates steelworkers in the town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Making several trips from his home base in Marshfield, Massachusetts, O’Callahan talked with steelworkers, men at the union hall, women in the Slovak church, relatives and Bethlehem Steel Corporation management. He took tours, leafed through photo albums, sat in kitchens, and stood in backyards overlooking the steel works. Through one immigrant family’s story, he wove the steel into a yarn which lasts more than an hour, and takes the audience from Poland to Pennsylvania following the story of Ludvika Moskal. She faces immigration at 18, raising a family in the poverty of the steel-making city, and stands up to injustice with the fear of reprisal. O’Callahan compares her story to the molten metal in a blast furnace which transforms into steel.

O’Callahan has more than two decades of storytelling experience. He has told stories on the stages of New York’s Lincoln Center and London’s National Theatre, and his pieces have been aired on National Public Radio.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded O’Callahan a fellowship for solo performance excellence. He has received awards for his performances, books, audiotapes and videos from the National Education Film Festival, Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, Parents’ Choice, New England Theater Conference and UNESCO, to name a few. He also is a regular contributor to National Public Radio and leads creativity workshops for corporations and other interested groups.