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Voices in Conflict: Free speech in an American high school

In November 2008, Connecticut Public Television aired this special that includes substantial excerpts from a complete performance of Voices In Conflict. WHS drama teacher Bonnie Dickinson won an Emmy for her direction. © Connecticut Public Television.

On March 13, 2007, Tim Canty, principal of Wilton High School in Wilton, Connecticut, rescinded permission for the school’s Theater Arts II class to perform “Voices In Conflict”, a staged recitation of letters from soldiers and participants in the Iraq War.

On April 12, the students announced that in June they would be performing Voices In Conflict at the New York Public Theater, the Culture Project, and the Vineyard Theater in Manhattan, and at the Fairfield Theater Company in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Here is the official Voices In Conflict website.

The New York Times article that brought international attention to the matter is no longer available for free online, but it appears in my first blog post on the controversy. (Note also the April 18 correction)

Here are early drafts of the playscript for “Voices In Conflict”, in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The final version performed in June contained virtually all of this material but with a vastly different structure, including an ending with references to the controversy.

Here are my posts to date on the subject:

And I’ve also been posting and commenting on MyLeftNutmeg and DailyKos.

What they have to say for themselves: the words of the participants in the VIC controversy

Coverage in the media (mainstream and various tributaries)

Blogs, blogswarms, rants, raves, and effluvia

“Voices In Conflict” on tour: scheduled performances, awards and such

“Voices In Conflict” cast and credits

If you have links to other online articles, blogs, etc., on any side of this controversy, please post them in the comments section of this page and I’ll add them. For purposes of these pages I’m only interested in sites that are publicly available (no Facebook or Myspace, for example), and only original material (not just crossposts of other articles).


1. ginger perry - April 14, 2007

wow — you are the bomb!

2. ginger perry - April 14, 2007

Is that the whole play you have on your site? Whatever — it is great
as the other one was pulled, as I am sure you know. I had an open mind — in fact as a result of the WB articles, I tended to agree with not showing it (the part about Gabby not having given permission and her role being in the play, for one thing) — but I think it is great and actually, very balanced. It gives a broad view, really, in those various voices — some of very patriotic and gung-ho actually. And others are
only speaking the truth. It is so great that it has been picked up.
As I said above, I went to Wilton High and grew up in Wilton. Also, my brother Stephen was killed in Vietnam in 1969. Not that that makes me an expert on anything ….

Anyway, it’s great that you compiled all of this material. Thank you!

3. GC - May 14, 2007

Into the belly of the beast.

Its been announced that the Music Theatre International “Courage in Theatre” award that was announced last month will be presented to each of the members of Bonnie Dickinson’s Advanced Theatre Arts class as part of the Annual Fine and Performing Arts Awards night at Wilton High School on May 23 at 7:30 PM.

Presenting the award on behalf of Music Theatre International will be well known Hollywood actor Joe Pantoliano.

It is not known at this time whether Principal Tim Canty will follow his usual custom and be in attendance that night.

In other related news, a schedule of performance commitments for “Voices in Conflict” has been announced. It is

June 6 – Fairfield Theatre Co. Fairfield, CT
June 8 – Westport Arts Council, Westport, CT
June 9 – Vineyard Theatre, NYC
June 10 – The Culture Project, NYC
June 15 – The Public Theatre, NYC

Tickets are free but very hard to come by, since all of these theatres are small intimate settings.

There still may be other performances but nothing firm yet.

Thought you should know, and thanks for collecting all of the info on “Voices in Conflict”.

4. GC - May 20, 2007

A Wilton Bulletin editorial linking three pieces of controversy in town.


A Bulletin cover story that quotes one student in the play and both Gary Richards and Tim Canty.


5. Jo Buu - October 10, 2007

As a liberal minded retired British physician, I offer every moral support to the splendid students of Wilton High School, as they refuse to lie down to the appalling and mindless conservative pressures on them to abort “Voices in Conflict”. So long as you flourish, there may be hope for America, though not, sadly, in my time.

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