Seven cast members standing in a row on stage


Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 25, 2024 - January 27, 2024 | Yardley Hall

School shows: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday; Tickets start at $5.
Public shows: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; Tickets start at $25.

Public show tickets available here:

Individual Tickets

Ages 10 and up

In her debut theatrical production, Ashli St. Armant presents “North,” a powerful new musical about a teenage boy and his mother who escape slavery in the Deep South through the Underground Railroad.

“North” is a moving story that explores the multi-faceted reality of Black life during the antebellum period, and which aims to bring out the full range of experiences of freedom seekers. While acknowledging the realities of slavery, the narrative and original musical compositions by Ashli St. Armant explore themes of optimism, bravery, playfulness, wonder, suspense and mystery. The musical is intended for intergenerational audiences, ages 10 and up.

Inspired by true accounts of escape through the Underground Railroad, the story begins in Vacherie, Louisiana, in the middle of the 19th century where Lawrence, a precocious teenage boy, and his cautious mother, Minnie, are making the best of their lives, enslaved on Mr. Newsome’s plantation – the only reality they’ve ever known.

When Minnie makes a shocking discovery that Lawrence’s life is in jeopardy, they make the brave and difficult decision to run away that night. While navigating the complicated relationship between mother and son, and Lawrence’s emerging promise of manhood, the pair must also find their way through the intricate network of the Underground Railroad. Together, they discover more about the world and themselves than they ever would have had they stayed on the plantation. Will their new understandings and their bond be enough to carry them all the way to freedom? Relationships, grit, betrayal, ingenuity, finding joy and ultimately, humanity, drive the story.

St. Armant’s own ancestors were enslaved in Vacherie, and her research for this project led her down many paths where she discovered incredible connections to her own family and experiences. Many of those findings influenced the final story, including characters like Tham the Brave, a real-life leader in a Maroons community who had been enslaved on the same plantation as St. Armant’s family members in the 1780s. The set design and the song “Oh What These Trees Have Seen” come from her personal experience visiting the area where this plantation was located.

Presented in collaboration with the Kansas Studies Institute.