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First play scheduled at renovated Walker Legacy Center

“The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story” will be the first play at the historic Madam Walker Legacy Center since the landmark venue underwent major renovations.

Tickets are now available for the performances, which will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 to 6. Sponsors IUPUI and the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI will make all three performances free to the public, while tickets last, to celebrate the reopening. They hope to make the production accessible to the broadest possible audience from central Indiana and beyond. 

“The Price of Progress” is a two-act stage play originally produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of IUPUI in 2019. It was conceived by IUPUI Multicultural Center Director Khalilah Shabazz and written by Vernon A. Williams, communication and community engagement strategist for IUPUI. Several participants in the production were born and raised in the Indiana Avenue/Ransom Place neighborhood.

The production showcases the vivid heritage of an Indianapolis community dubbed “the Harlem of the Midwest” for its thriving culture of Black-owned businesses, performing arts, educational influence and a jazz legacy that attracted the most renowned musicians of the 20th century. The play also explores the impact of displacement and gentrification in Indianapolis.

“The Price of Progress” candidly ascribes perceived and actual complicity on the part of IUPUI but also addresses healing measures assumed by campus leadership in more recent years. “The Price of Progress” celebrates the first 50 years of IUPUI — one of the nation’s leading urban research campuses — chronicled through entertaining drama, comedy, music, dance and historical video.

For more information, contact Williams at 317-274-8710 or 317-457-8779, or visit