The Everett Company refers to themselves as intergenerational and multicultural professional artistic company. Their mission is to create a more just world through arts and dance.

Headquartered in Providence, R.I., the theatre company is bringing their latest work, Freedom Project, to the Vineyard on Saturday, March 12, as part of the Yard’s winter dance program. The piece weaves together dance, video and personal stories to explore the subject of mass incarceration in the United States.

“This play gives a face and a story to the statistics [of mass incarceration],” said performer Christopher Johnson. “You come to see Freedom Project, you see a human face and a human story.”

The idea for the Freedom Project began after witnessing the trauma many of the youths attending the Everett Company’s free arts program experienced on a daily basis.

Christopher Johnson said the subject is personal for him. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“The kids would come in, they’d been stopped by the police, pulled over, harassed, so it was just on our radar,” said Aaron Jungels, the artistic director of the Everett Company.

Some performers, like Mr. Johnson, joined Freedom Project because of a personal connection. Mr. Johnson, a poet, was incarcerated for two years. He said the performance meant change to him.

“I got into it because of the stigma. Here it is, we have this stigma of people who were incarcerated, and we won’t allow them into our banks, we won’t allow them to teach,” he said. “Who’s better to turn people’s lives around than somebody who has been through it? Without even knowing people who have been incarcerated you make a judgement call, just because they made a mistake in their lives.”

The Yard’s artistic director and executive producer, David White, said he has been working with the Everett Company for 25 years, after first encountering them at an open audition New York city.

“I knew right when I saw the short piece that this is a company I would work with for a long time,” he said.

The performance is the second of three for the Yard's winter schedule. — Mark Alan Lovewell

For Mr. White, theatre is the perfect place to explore topics like mass incarceration which affect the entire community.

“The theatre space is a congregational space, a place where community is acted out,” Mr. White said.

Mr. White called Freedom Project “user friendly” and encouraged people of all ages to attend with parents using discretion for those under 12 years of age. For young adults, this piece is especially relevant, Mr. White said.

“This is stuff they need to hear,” he said.

Mr. Jungels said he hopes the subject matter does not keep people from attending.

“[The Freedom Project] is easy to connect to, it’s accessible,” he said. “You laugh, you cry, but you leave feeling hopeful.”

Saturday’s performance begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at the regional high school. It is the second program in the Yard’s winter series, a new initiative to bring arts to the year-round community on the Island.

“We’re trying to help to keep lights on in darker months, that’s our activism,” said Mr. White.

In April, Le Patin Libre, a Canadian figure skating troupe, will perform.

Tickets to The Freedom Project are available at the door, online at or by phone at 508-645-9662.