Authoring Action and WS Symphony collaborate to bring the story of Chevalier de Saint-Georges to stage

Nathan Ross Freeman (in jacket) works with Authoring Action on a presentation held at Delta Arts Center.

Authoring Action and WS Symphony  collaborate to bring the story of Chevalier  de Saint-Georges to stage
February 06
08:19 2023

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

If you’ve never heard of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de St. Georges, it’s not surprising. His is a story that has only recently been discovered. 

What makes his story so intriguing to the young authors of Authoring Action? He was born in 1745, the son of a white man and a slave, and at the age of 13 was taken to France to be educated and to study music. He became an accomplished violinist, concertmaster, composer and master fencer, moving in the circles of the elite in France. He formed the first Black military regiment in history during the French Revolution and was a Black abolitionist. Despite all his accomplishments, Chevalier was arrested, jailed and died before seeing France abolish slavery in 1794.

His story and his music will be featured in the production  “Chevalier: Composer + Liberator,” through a collaboration with the Winston-Salem Symphony and Authoring Action.

Nathan Ross Freeman, co-founder of Authoring Action, has worked with seven Authoring Action Assegai (ages 13-17) and Renaissance (18 and above) authors to write spoken word pieces on the themes of freedom and liberation. The Winston-Salem Symphony string quartet will choose pieces of Bologne’s compositions to complement the spoken word. Together, this will be an evening of contemplation and inspiration on a musical journey blending reflections on the past, present and future.

Freeman said that when he began this project, he wondered “What would the teens have to say today in the mind of Chevalier?” He said that question led to choosing two writing prompts for the authors to celebrate Chevalier: freedom and liberation.

“Each author will write two pieces … none of the pieces will be about Chevalier, but ideas about emancipation given today’s circumstances.” Ultimately, the spoken word and music are intertwined to weave the history of the past with the hopes of the future.

Playwright Bill Barkley, who wrote the play about Chevalier, said Joseph Bologne was a historical “footnote” when he discovered it. His play about Chevalier was originally workshopped in Winston-Salem in 2021. In October 2022 it was performed in collaboration with the Winston-Salem Symphony and N.C. Black Repertory Company. Authoring Action participants were invited to the performance, which gave them the inspiration to create their own response to Chevalier’s life and to his fight to end slavery in France..

A national touring company has been partnering with symphonies around the country to present Barkley’s play to tell the fascinating story and share the music of Joseph Bologne, The biographical film “Chevalier” that premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, will be released theatrically in April 2023. 

The production of “Chevalier: Composer + Liberator” will be presented  by the Winston-Salem Symphony string quartet and Authoring Action on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the McChesney Scott Dunn Auditorium of SECCA, 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem. This performance is family friendly and one that young people in particular will enjoy seeing Authoring Action present their spoken word pieces. Tickets are available online at 

To find out more about Authoring Auction’s programs and to apply, visit

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors