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    Touchstone Theater: Festival Unbound

    In 1998, after an almost 150-year history building this nation, Bethlehem Steel finally shut down steelmaking here in Bethlehem. It was a traumatic event, and Touchstone, to help the community work its way through it, created and assembled several works of art and cultural projects into a festival called Steel Festival: The Art of an Industry.


    Now, as October 2019 approaches and the 20th anniversary since that extraordinary event, we face a challenge of a different and perhaps more daunting nature. Who are we, now that the Steel is gone? What are the challenges ahead, and what are the values that will hold the community together as we face the task of shaping our future?


    Out of conversations and questions with the community, themes and stories have emerged. Visions of the future are being forged onstage and in dance studios, on college campuses and in public parks, on canvases and in coloring books, between young and old, across racial divides, across the gender spectrum, through Lehigh Valley citizens from all walks of life.


    Get a snapshot of what’s coming to Bethlehem on October 4-13, 2019 for this year’s 20th anniversary of Festival Unbound!



    Beyond Utopia
    a collaboration with Teatr Brama (Poland) and Moravian College

    Hidden Seed: Bethlehem’s Forgotten Utopia
    a dive into the hidden history of Bethlehem’s birth


    a companion piece to the 1999 “Steelbound”

    The Secret
    a new work about Hilda Doolittle by Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre





    A Joyful Noise
    explores the collective act of choral singing

    an evening watering hole: food, drinks, performances, and conversation

    Poets, Troubadours, & Troublemakers
    three evenings of live original music





    Community Supper
    savor Bethlehem’s favorite foods

    Kitchen Chronicles
    part immersive performance, part family gathering


    Food for Thought


    Community Conversations

    a noontime lunch series exploring festival themes

    Sustainability Forum

    a town-hall gathering to brainstorm, learn, debate, and discuss sustainability



    Outdoor Spectacles


    Opening Ceremony
    a celebratory processional down the South Bethlehem Greenway

    The Hunt for Utopia
    an interactive, wild, theatrical bicycle ride through Bethlehem

    a new show devised and written by Bethlehem teens

    Closing Ceremony
    an outdoor extravaganza and gathering of our 21st-century village



    Community Connections


    pARTicipate: Express Yourself
    collaborative art-making for all ages and skills

    Embracing Bethlehem / Abrazos a Belén
    a collaboration with Pregones Theatre (NY) and Bethlehem’s Latinx community
    Forward March: The Future of Our Warriors
    a collaboration with Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving
    an afternoon highlighting the Black community in the Lehigh Valley

    Inside/Outside City

    a midweek, daytime event filled with music, dance, visual arts, games, and conversation