The Forgotten Dead
Schneider Park in Akron seems like your typical family-friendly park. What local residents who enjoy the park may not realize, though, is how many bodies—and secrets—are buried beneath their feet.
From the mid-19th to early 20th century, this green space was the cemetery attached to the county poorhouse, which housed elderly and disabled people of that era. To tell this story, a local theater troupe of actors with disabilities reenacts what life would have been like for them back then. THE FORGOTTEN DEAD strives to memorialize those who were marginalized in life, and forgotten in death, by challenging us all to rethink our perceptions of the people all around us living today with disabilities.
The production was created by Josh Gippin of Joshua Tree Productions in collaboration with University of Akron students and Theatre on the Spectrum. This project was made possible by University of Akron’s EXL Center, which partners students with businesses in the community to gain hands-on experience in their fields. Gippin was brought on as a visiting professor for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters and worked with students from the Anthropology Department and School of Communication, plus ZTV students and a few students from the School of Art, School of Music and the Marketing Department. This offered the students a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration.
Premiered in 2020.