Our Voices Our Town
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  • Welcome to Your Town!

    Our Voices, Our Town is a community dialogue across our rural region of southeastern Wisconsin. We invite you to share your own thoughts and views as to how you define Your Town. Post your comments or learn how to create your own digital story. What does Your Town mean to you? How has Your Town changed? What do you want Your Town to be in 2113?

    This project was inspired by and revolves around Wisconsin native Thornton Wilder’s seminal play, Our Town. Act III of Our Town opens with a new air of foreboding. The Stage Manager notes that it is now, “Summer 1913. Gradual Changes in Grover’s Corners. Horses are getting rarer. Farmers coming into the town in Fords. Everybody locks their doors now at night.” In the spring of 2013, our presentation of Our Town will mark the Young Auditorium’s 20th Anniversary and will feature Milwaukee writer and actor John McGivern in the lead role of the Stage Manager.

A few Our Town Tickets still available – starring John McGivern


UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department
Starring John McGivern

Sunday, April 21, 2013 • 2:00 pm
Monday, April 22, 2013 • 7:30 pm

Tickets – $19, $17

Or call 262-472-2222.

Our Town Cast and Crew Reception with John McGivern

Sunday, April 21, 2013 – after the performance in the Kachel Center (just steps from your seat)
Purchase online  or by phone 262-472-2222 by April 15, 2013
$25 * A special reception with Jon McGivern and the Our Town Cast and Crew following the performance.  A fundraiser for the Young Auditorium and UW-Whitewater, Theatre/Dance Department Endowments. Each ticket includes a $15 tax-deductible gift.


Have you read the great article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal about John’s upcoming performance in Our Town with the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department?

Popular monologuist, comedian plays it (mostly) straight in ‘Our Town’

By Jim Higgins of the Journal Sentinel

Like Elvislove and ChickenmanJohn McGivern is everywhere.

Or so it seems.

One of the rarer species of McGivern will surface next week at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater: McGivern the dramatic actor. He’s playing the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town,” directed by Jim Butchart.

“I took it because I thought it was a great opportunity,” said McGivern, who has sold out UW-Whitewater’s 1,300-seat Young Auditorium for some of his other shows.

Click here to read the full article online.

Big Read Kick Off April 1st

Big Read Kick Off  – No Foolin’ A Free Book!

No Foolin’ A Free Book. Monday  4/1/12 All public library partners will kick-off the Big Read by offering give-away of books, Thornton Wilder Reader’s Guides and audio guides, as well as opportunities to win tickets to the performance of Our Town starring John McGivern.


Kick off at Young Auditorium with Premiere of Around the Corner featuring Whitewater

Young Auditorium, 930 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI.

Monday, April 1, 6:00 PM.  Children’s activities, raffle for tickets and books, music by the Country Gentlemen.

Monday, April 1, 7:00 PM.  Around the Corner featuring Whitewater premiere with John McGivern!

The campus and community of Whitewater is the focus of Milwaukee Public Television’s series Around the Corner with John McGivern.  A free premiere of the episode will be shown at the Young Auditorium.  Local “celebrities” who are featured in the show will be on hand as John McGivern gives the community and campus a behind the scenes look at the filming of the Whitewater episode.

The second season of Around the Corner will feature communities throughout Wisconsin.  Episodes will air throughout the state on WI Public TV.  Emmy-winning actor John McGivern leads a unique field trip through 13 diverse towns and neighborhoods from Sheboygan to Racine, and Burlington to Whitewater. McGivern discovers the secrets to living well, working hard, and playing merrily in all of these hometowns. Along the way, he bumps into local historian John Gurda who shares fascinating historical gems about town settlers, buildings, parks, and neighborhoods.

Thornton Wilder Focus of 5th annual Big Read – Twelve Area Libraries will be hosting events

Wisconsin native Thornton Wilder will be the focus of southeastern Wisconsin’s fifth Big Read.  The Young Auditorium with area libraries and community partners will engage the community in a diverse range of activities related to Thornton Wilder’s novel Bridge of San Luis Rey and the play Our Town.  The effort was awarded a $15,000 by The Big Read  a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The last year’s Big Read reached 2,351 children and 3,013 adults at over seventy events throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

For 2013 Big Read the theme of Our Voices, Our Town will open a community dialogue across our rural region of southeastern Wisconsin. We invite you to share your own thoughts and views as to how you define Your Town by visiting the Big Read website, www.ourvoicesourtown.com.

The Thornton Wilder Society notes that this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the first staged production of Our Town in 1938.  Our Town opened on Broadway on February 4 that year and later that spring, the play brought Wilder his second Pulitzer Prize. Seventy five years later, Our Town is still considered one of the great American plays, and not a night goes by that it is not performed somewhere in the United States or Canada.

Check your local library for their participation and event calendar.  Twelve area libraries have will be hosting events.  Updates will be available at the Big Read website:  http://www.ourvoicesourtown.com

Art Walk detailed in Whitewater Register Article

Dave Fidlin, Correspondent for the Whitewater Register reports on the success of the planning for the Art Walk in Whitewater as part of this year’s Big Read, Our Voices, Our Town.


While art in its many forms has long been celebrated in Whitewater, a number of community businesses and organizations are banding together in the months ahead to create a series of events. The collaborative effort is the largest in scale in recent history.

The first event, a workshop known as Paint the Town, will be held Saturday at Studio 84. Participants can bring in a photo of a Whitewater building or landscape and paint a portrait of the image.

Click here for the entire article.

AAUW and WCAC join the Big Read for special luncheon at Lake Lawn

The Geneva Lake Branch of the American Association of University Women and the Walworth County Arts Council in conjunction with the BIG READ of the University of 
Wisconsin—Whitewater and the Young Auditorium invite you to attend a luncheon event featuring Tappan Wilder, nephew and literary executor for Thornton Wilder and Wilder biographer, Penelope Niven.
WHERE:  Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, WI
WHEN:  Thursday, April 18, 2013

Advanced reservations required by April 11, 2013.

Click here for a pdf of the reservation form.

Click here for details of the program.


Penelope Niven to join Big Read in Wisconsin

UPDATE NOW CONFIRMED:  Thornton Wilder:  A Life.  An Academy Evening Talk with Tappan Wilder and Wilder biographer Penelope Niven. 

As part of southeastern Wisconsin’s fifth Big Read, a free literary event featuring Tappan Wilder and biography Penelope Niven will be presented at the Janesville Performing Arts Center.

Tappan Wilder is Thornton Wilder’s nephew and literary executor, and the manager of his literary and dramatic properties.  We will join with Penelope Niven to discuss the legacy of Thornton Wilder.  He was a multifaceted man–son, brother, student, soldier, teacher, novelist, playwright, lecturer, actor, musician, man of letters, international public figure. A very private man, he possessed a remarkable gift for friendship, and the biography offers portraits of friends he made as he traveled the globe.

Event Date/Time:
Thursday April 18th; 6:00 pm

JPAC, 408 South Main Street, Janesville, WI 53545.  Free parking.

Read a review of this important new biography by Penelope Niven.


Big Read T-Shirt Contest Now Open for K-12 Students

The Big Read T-Shirt Art contest is now open!  K-12 Students are encouraged to create designs, logos, artwork, that represent “Our Town” for the official 2013 Big Read t-shirt!

Check out the student pages for full details.