Don’t miss the opportunity to see our interactive dramatic event, Liberty To Go To See, winner of a 2016 National Leadership in History Award from the American Association of State and Local History. Based on the Chew Family Papers, Liberty To Go To See is directed by award-winning actor and director Johnnie Hobbs.
Created through a year-long partnership between Cliveden and the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, teenagers researched the Chew Family Papers—which contain thousands of documents related to the Chew family plantations and the people who toiled on them—to bring to life the people who lived and worked at Cliveden from the 1760s through the 1860s. The title of the play comes from a letter written by an enslaved worker, Joseph, to his owner, Benjamin Chew, requesting permission to go to another plantation to be near his wife. The Young Playwrights worked with Cliveden staff, historians, and community stakeholders to workshop and preview the dramatic creation in 2013. The audience follows narrator James Smith, a freed African servant, through a series of episodes of daily life and work of the Chew family and their indentured, enslaved, and immigrant workers. The story dramatizes the paradoxes in American history as revealed in the class inequalities, gender roles, racial discrimination and the struggle for freedom.