Jun 22, 2022 - Things to Do

Natalie Moore's "The Billboard" opens as a play

Book called The Billboard

Photo courtesy of 16th Street Theater

The new play "The Billboard" tells the story of a fictional women's clinic in Englewood embroiled in public debate over the role of abortion in the Black community.

Why it matters: Author and journalist Natalie Moore never dreamed the play would debut so close to a possible new Roe v. Wade decision.

  • But she believes it will give folks on all sides of the debate another perspective to consider.

What's happening: "The Billboard," produced by the 16th Street Theater in Abbott Hall at Northwestern, opens Thursday. It was first released as a book earlier this year.

The inspiration: Moore started the play as homework for a class she was taking at Chicago Dramatists.

  • She was assigned to write about an object and chose opposing abortion billboards at the center of a 2018 controversy in Dallas' Black community. One called it "murder" and the other "self-care."
  • "I got a lot of great feedback on the assignment and sent it to the 16th Street Theater," Moore tells Axios, noting she'd planned to write a different play. "And the artistic director said to me, 'I think this is your play.'"

What to expect: "For the audience to leave with more questions than they had when they walked in …. It's about more than pro-choice or pro-life. In a lot of ways, the debate happening in the play is among people who are pro-choice."

The timing: "I think the play was timely and urgent, even before the [Roe] leak," Moore says. "But people who weren't paying attention to the issue now see the urgency around it. This will give them more to think about along with some nuance."

If you go: "The Billboard" runs through July 17. Tickets are $25.


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