Original Play “Nancy” to be performed at Washington College Academy on November 13th

– In 1820, Elihu Embree published his newspaper The Emancipator on Main Street, Jonesborough. The seven edition paper is the first publication dedicated solely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820, and the paper died with him. Even though it was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000 subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spite of his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was an enslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be shared at Washington College Academy on November 13th in an original play entitled “Nancy.”


Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “Nancy” follows a year in the woman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January 1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. In his will, Embree tried to free Nancy and her five children, but were his wishes carried out? What was Nancy feeling and thinking during this time? The play is based on primary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington County Archives. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short. “Nancy” premiered on June 19th at the Embree House Historic Farm to three, sold out audiences.


“It is an honor to bring the show to Washington College Academy, the oldest college in the state,” Mason says. “We are very excited to partner with them.” The performance at 6:00 pm on November 13th will be a fundraiser for the Washington College Academy Alumni and the Heritage Alliance. The show will be performed in the historic Girls’ Dormitory on the campus. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased directly through Washington College Academy by calling 423-257-5151 or by emailing their office at washingtoncollegeacademy@gmail.com.  Seating is limited to only 50 people, so make sure you purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting Washington College Academy’s website at www.wca1780.com.


The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. For more information, visit our website at heritageall.org or call our office at 423-753-9580.


Washington College Academy is now home to the Washington College Academy School of Arts and Crafts. It is becoming known as a center for the arts where the forms of artistic talents are as diverse as the mountain leaves. It is a diverse heritage that draws students and friends to campus. Washington College is on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a class at Washington College Academy School of Arts and Crafts and be a part of their ongoing history. For more information call their office at 423-257-5151 or visit their website at www.wca1780.com.