We Shall Not Be Moved

Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain and libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph • May 13, 16, 18, 19 & 21, 2023
August Wilson African American Cultural Center

It’s time to take a stand.


On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philadelphia teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than urgent fear. 

Combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B, and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility, We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles that suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.

Viswa Subbaraman conducts. Tony Award-winner and Kennedy Center Honoree Bill T. Jones directs and choreographs.


Production co-produced by Opera Philadelphia, The Apollo Theater, and Hackney Empire. Developed in partnership with Art Sanctuary.

Support for this production comes from the National Endowment for the Arts.

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

(photo credit: David Bachman)

Performance Dates/Times/Location

Cast and Artistic Team

Details and Resources

May 18th Community Matinee

Synopsis - contains Spoilers

Previews and Reviews

Video Excerpts