World Premiere Play “A Child Shall Lead Them: Making ‘The Night of the Hunter’” Re-imagines the Creation of a Chilling Classic

Co-production will be presented at Georgetown University and at the University of Maryland

Washington, D.C. — The Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program and University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies will co-produce the new multimedia production “A Child Shall Lead Them: Making ‘The Night of the Hunter,’” with a cast and creative team from both institutions. Written and directed by Derek Goldman, Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown, the show runs Nov. 3-6 at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre (Georgetown University), and Nov. 12-19 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Theatre (University of Maryland, College Park). A free November 5 screening of the film and discussion will also be held at Georgetown University, co-sponsored by the GU Film and Media Studies Program and the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts. Details below.

The 1955 film “The Night of the Hunter” was largely ignored upon its release but is now widely regarded as a masterpiece, called by Roger Ebert “one of the greatest of all American films.” This production is a historical re-imagining of the making of the film, woven from the classic screenplay and accounts of the shooting from those who were there, including director Charles Laughton, screenwriter James Agee, and actors Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. The play provides a powerful new framework for experiencing this uniquely chilling tale of corruption and evil, in which the forces of creation and destruction do battle with each other, within and outside of the frame.

Goldman says, “I’ve always admired ‘Night of the Hunter’ and seen it as ahead of its time… This unique multimedia reimagining of the classic is at once a spine-tingling thriller and a meditation on childhood and parenthood, innocence and evil, what it means to be an artist, legacy, and what we give birth to.”

The creative team includes JD Madsen, Scenic Designer; Drew Kaufman, Lighting Designer; Laree Lentz, Costume Designer; Veronica Lancaster, Sound Designer; and Jared Mezzocchi, Projections Designer.

The production’s unique implementation of multimedia features cutting-edge filming and projection techniques, weaving footage and live camera feed, with two live cameras onstage moved around by the performers and five projectors. Projection designer Jared Mezzocchi says the process of “marrying film and stage, media and acting” has been “an exciting challenge that both redefines our rehearsal process as well as invites a new landscape for performers and designers to co-exist and co-create in.”

Georgetown performances of “A Child Shall Lead Them: ‘Making the Night of the Hunter” include the following:

Thursday-Saturday, November 3-5 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m.



To purchase tickets, visit or call 202-687-ARTS (2787)


Special FREE events, co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Film and Media Studies Program and the Department of Performing Arts, will also be offered on Georgetown’s main campus, leading up to the ticketed evening performance of “A Child Shall Lead Them: Making ‘The Night of the Hunter’”
on Saturday, November 5:

4 p.m.

Screening of “The Night of the Hunter”

Introduced by Jeffrey Couchman, author of “The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film”
Location: Intercultural Center (ICC) Auditorium


5:45 p.m.

A conversation with Jeffrey Couchman, reception and book signing

Location: Davis Performing Arts Center’s main lobby
FREE, but RSVP requested to


Maryland performances include the following:

Saturday, November 12 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday, November 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit or call 301-405-ARTS (2787)

Derek Goldman is Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center and Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University. He is an award-winning stage director, playwright, adapter, developer of new work, teacher, and published scholar, whose artistic work has been seen around the country, Off-Broadway and at numerous major regional theaters, as well as internationally. As Founding Artistic Director of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, an award-winning socially engaged professional theatre, he led the company through more than 60 productions over 15 years in Chicago and Chapel Hill, NC. His scholarship on the politics of adaptation and other subjects has been published in numerous journals and in the Sage Handbook of Performance Studies, and he received the National Communication Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award. He is the author of more than 20 professionally produced plays and adaptations, including work published by Samuel French and premiered at major regional theaters such as Steppenwolf, and he has directed over 50 professional productions. Recent professional highlights include “The Glass Menagerie” at Georgetown and Arena Stage as part of the Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival he produced; “bobrauschenbergamerica” at Forum Theater; “Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears” which he developed with the legendary Theodore Bikel (Off-Broadway and International Touring; Drama Desk Award Nominee); “In Darfur” (Theater J); “Blackbird,” “Shipwrecked,” and “The Brothers Size” (Everyman); “Eurydice” (Round House); “As You Like It” (Folger); his adaptations of “Lysistrata” (GU/ Synetic) and Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” (Synetic), and of Studs Terkel’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (Steppenwolf, GU, etc); as well as new work at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. At GU he has developed and taught courses in political theater, adaptation, comedy, and directing, while staging his adaptation of “Six Characters in Search of an Author”; “The Winter’s Tale”; “Stuff Happens”; “Our Town” (with Sarah Marshall), “Skin of Our Teeth,” and his nationally-touring Holocaust drama “Right as Rain.” He received his Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. He recently led his GU students as the lone US representatives at the UNESCO/ITI World Festival of Theater Schools in Peru, creating with them the original work “In Search of Duende: The Ballad of Federico Garcia Lorca,” and he is the North American representative on the UNESCO/ITI board.


Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program integrates creative and critical inquiry, emphasizing artistic excellence, interdisciplinary learning, a commitment to social justice, and the spirit of collaboration. With a dynamic major in Theater and Performance Studies, the Program features a nationally recognized faculty, including leading scholar/artists, and many of the region’s leading professional theater practitioners. One of the country’s only undergraduate programs in Theater and Performance Studies, this fast-growing program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, reflecting the political and international character of Georgetown, and for its high-quality, cutting-edge student production seasons. Through the Davis Center, the Program foregrounds new work development, classics re-visioned, interdisciplinary programming, and collaboration across faculty, students and guest artists.

The Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2011-12 Nature’s Mirror: A Season of Evil and Noble Acts at the Davis Performing Arts Center, generously supported by C74, also includes mainstage productions of Visible Impact, running through Oct. 29; and Macbeth, a co-production with Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society.

The unique structure of the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies provides the opportunities of a larger community to interconnect and collaborate. While the degree programs in the dance and theatre disciplines retain their individuality, the School affords the inter-disciplinary prospects that enable landmark creativity and scholarship to flourish. Dynamic interaction between faculty, staff and students encourages innovative ideas and new initiatives.

2011-2012 at the Clarice Smith Center: A Season of Extraordinary Stories:
Throughout its 10th Anniversary Season, the Center has invited artists, patrons, students and community members to share their stories about the life-changing power of the arts. Through them, you will meet intrepid explorers, culture bearers, provocateurs and just plain art nuts. Find out more about what makes them who they are, and how power of the arts has inspired them here.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. More information on Clarice Smith Center donor support can be found here.


Laura Mertens
Davis Performing Arts Center (Georgetown University)

Simon Ogus
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (University of Maryland)