Berry College Presents ‘Silent Sky’

Release Date: November 02, 2018

The Berry College Theatre Company presents the untold story of a pioneering woman astronomer in “Silent Sky” Nov. 14 – 18. 

“Silent Sky” is set around the turn of the 20th century and tells the real-life story of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt as she balances health complications, familial obligations and gender discrimination. The story surrounds Leavitt and her fellow female colleagues including famous astronomer and curator of the Harvard University Observatory, Annie Jump Cannon. Cannon visited Berry in the 1930s and was a contemporary of Martha Berry.  

“Here I’ve been working on the heavens, charting the skies for 35 years and haven’t changed a single star yet, but Miss Berry during those 35 years has been teaching some 10,000 boys and girls, and look how she has changed and helped them,” Cannon said during her visit to Berry in 1935, according to a newspaper article.

“Silent Sky” is directed by Berry artist-in-residence David Alford, who has a career in both theater and television. A Juilliard graduate, he recently appeared on Broadway in “The Little Foxes,” and is best known as Bucky Dawes from the television series “Nashville.”

"I've been very impressed by the dedication of the Berry theater students,” Alford said. “They're easily the hardest-working bunch I've ever been around. And it’s a privilege to work with them on this beautiful new play, shining a light on the contributions of women in science."

The set, costumes, hair and makeup for “Silent Sky” are all designed by theater students.  

“Henrietta is one of the strongest female characters I have ever portrayed. She was a pioneer of her time and made so many impactful contributions, despite all the obstacles in her way,” said Lilly Gonzalez, a theater major from Roswell, Ga., who plays Leavitt. “The astronomical community will be forever thankful for her work, and BCTC is proud to share her story- a story of dedication, perseverance and triumph; a story people need to know.”  

Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday- Saturday and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday. General admission is $12, senior citizens are $8 and students are $6. Tickets can be purchased online at www.berry.edu/bctc-tickets or by calling (706) 236-2263.  

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 Written by theater major Hannah Avery and Public Relations Student Supervisor Alexi Bell. Photos by Hannah Avery.