On Friday, February 24, approximately 200 children and parents from City shelters were transported back to 1787, as they watched a performance of "Guess Who Signed the Constitution"− a musical puppet show that tells the story of the founding fathers.
Performed by the renowned children's theater troupe, the Hudson Vagabond Puppets, the play was supplemented by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was presented at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, in Manhattan's East Village. Told through the voice of a 10-year-old boy growing up in 1810− a mere 23 years after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia− the performance explains a crucial moment in America's history in a fun, yet informative way.
Working with the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) used the event as an opportunity to engage families in shelter about voter registration and provide useful literature on the subject. The collaboration was part of the agency's ongoing efforts to promote voter registration among New Yorkers in shelter, and encourage clients to exercise their right to vote come Election Day.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to educate families in an enjoyable way and help them better understand the events that shaped our nation," said DHS' Director of Special Events, Antonio Rodriguez. "With Presidents Day just behind us, and the national election approaching in the year ahead, the timing is especially fitting."
DHS' Office of Communications & External Affairs coordinated the attendance of families from shelter. DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond was also present.
Lunch was served following the performance, thanks to the generosity of St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. As the oldest site of continuous worship in New York City, and the second oldest church in Manhattan, St. Mark's continues to host an array of cultural events year-round.
For more information about the Hudson Vagabond Puppets' production of "Who Signed the Constitution," visit http://www.hvpuppets.org/constitution.