Volume of Smoke


Voulme of Smoke poster

by Clay McLeod Chapman

November 16-19th, 2017


What do we, fallible creatures that we are, do in face of immense, unexplainable disaster?

Rarely do ghosts of tragedy tell their tale in person. In a style reminiscent of Ken Burns, that’s exactly what happens in Volume of Smoke. In vivid vignettes, victims and survivors detail their personal experiences in the 1811 Richmond Theatre fire. Nearly forgotten now, the conflagration was the worst urban disaster of its time, claiming 70 lives and leading to Richmond’s ban on public performances. Experience this historical docudrama as theater technicians reveal their guilt, audience members recount their losses, and survivors learn how to move on. Journey through Clay McLeod Chapman’s haunting narrative of the human experience and tragedy’s timeless effects on our modern lives. Some material may not be suitable for children under the age of 13.

“By weaving together over twenty four individual voices, each giving its own little snapshot of the [Great Richmond Theater Fire of 1811], what emerges is a poetic and powerful accounting of human response to disaster.” – Isaac Butler

$12 in advance; $15 at the door. Order tickets NOW