The first will consist of a short stage production where the audience will meet Harriet Tubman, played by Day-Davenport.
Then motivational speaker Karen C. McElrath, a certified professional life coach and founder of KM Business & Communications, will take Tubman’s struggle and turn it into inspiration people today can use.
Finally, the audience will be able to interact with, and ask questions of, both “Tubman” and McElrath.
Day-Davenport, who appeared Empire's Season 2 and greeted "new prisoners" at the old Joliet prison's "Night Behind Bars" event last fall, said she has acted in film and television for years.
But not until she moved to Joliet three years ago did she actively seek out stage work. She discovered the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre and came out to audition for Apple Jam, an interactive dance part for kids the theater holds every year.
Being part of Apple Jam changed the way Day-Davenport's perspective on acting.
“Ever since, I’ve been going back to do stage productions,” Day-Davenport said.
Initially, Day-Davenport only wanted to keep her acting skills sharp. But as she did more stage work, Day-Davenport fell in love with theater.
“I never thought I would like theater, but I love it; I love performing,” she said. “With film, you do your lines, reset and then ‘Let’s do it again.’”
Not so with live theater, she said, where "everything" is so immediate. Day-Davenport said she loves “feeding off the energy of the crowd” and “becoming those characters.”
“It’s an amazing feeling,” she said.
Since taking on the role, Day-Davenport said she’s learned details about Tubman’s life she didn’t previously know, especially details form Tubman’s childhood.
“The age of 6 was when slaves were considered old enough to work,” Day-Davenport said. “At 6 years old, she had to go to an actual job. She was taken from her family and given to another family and work an actual job and she’s still a baby herself.”
Day-Davenport said students will be able to relate to the updated language and everyone, although they know about Tubman, will gain new insight into her life, just as Day-Davenport did.
“It’s very inspirational,” Day-Davenport said. “Just seeing the things she endured, how she relied on in her life and the word and faith of God to guide her.”