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Let the Good Times Rolle

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Let the Good Times Rolle

Broward County Library

Customer Experience | 2021

Innovation Summary

To celebrate the life and legacy of actress/Broward County native Esther Rolle, and promote arts in local communities, the African American Research Library and Cultural Center obtained grant funding to write, cast, produce and safely present an original play about Rolle.

Problem Statement

After her death, the family of actress and icon Ester Rolle donated her personal/professional papersto AARLCC’s Special Collections. To celebrate the centennial anniversary of her birth in 2020, AARLCC staff were challenged to create a slate of programming — including a spectacular finale event in the time of COVID-19 — that honored Rolle, celebrated Black excellence in Broward County and promoted grassroots arts and culture in the historic Sistrunk Boulevard neighborhood where AARLCC is located.


Innovation

A true community collaboration, Let the Good Times Rolle was written, produced and presented by local actors, playwrights, directors, stagehands, musicians and designers. AARLCC has a theater, but due to COVID-19, sets and an outdoor stage were built specifically for the March 4 and 5, 2021 shows. The drive-in, socially distanced event was festive, with food trucks, guest speakers and the live show. It was filmed for later broadcast and is currently being edited.


Progress

Short-term outcomes included the two successful performances of the play, which attracted approximately 400 guests, as well as the successful fulfillment of the grant that funded the project. Long-term outcomes include increased visibility of AARLCC and of the Sistrunk Boulevard neighborhood as a thriving hub of artistic and creative energy, fostering local pride in its residents and, above all, respectfully and joyfully honoring Ms. Rolle’s legacy of excellence and achievement.