The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover is presenting the award-winning drama “Doubt: A Parable” by John Patrick Shanley this weekend.

Set against the volatile background of the civil rights movement and Kennedy assassination, “Doubt: A Parable” pits a conservative principal of St. Nicholas School against a young and progressive priest when she suspects him of abusing a student.

Fr. Richard Piatt directs the production performed by Merrimack College students and staff. He is also an assistant professor in Merrimack’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

“John Patrick Shanley has crafted a masterful piece of theater, rich in nuance and deeply human at its core,” Piatt says in a release. “What is truly wonderful about the play is that you and the person you are sitting next to will likely have very different understandings about what you have just witnessed. ‘Doubt’ is one of those rare theatrical events that can’t help but cause audience members to discuss and debate long after the curtain comes down.”

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30, with a matinee also on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Rogers Center for The Arts, 315 Turnpike St., North Andover.

General admission is $10, $5 for Merrimack College students and employees. For tickets, call the Rogers Center box office at 978-837-5355 or buy online at

Hip-hop dance erasing stereotypes

The Phillips Academy Department of Theater and Dance presents a performance by Kayden guest artist Dr. Rennie Harris and his hip-hop dance company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Tang Theatre on the campus at 180 Main St. in Andover.

The performance will feature signature works by choreographer and founder Harris, including an excerpt from “Rome and Jules,” Harris’ hip-hop version of “Romeo and Juliet”.

Rennie Harris Puremovement’s work is said to encompass rich and diverse African-American traditions of the past while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation. The Pennsylvania-based company’s goal is to provide audiences with a view of the essence and spirit of hip-hop, rather than what Harris says is the commercially exploited stereotypes most often seen in popular culture. In a society where hip-hop is often portrayed as a violent, undisciplined counterculture, he says his company has instead deconstructed popular perception of this medium, expanding and challenging the boundaries and definitions of hip-hop in general for the past 20 years.

Admission is free and no tickets are required. A question-and-answer session with the company will follow the performance; the public is invited.

The visit and performance is being funded by the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Fund, with additional support from an Abbot Academy Association grant and the school’s Department of Community and Multicultural Development.

Walk the woods at Harold Parker

Exercise, along with a good night’s sleep can increase serotonin, giving a sense of well-being. A free woods walk at Harold Parker State Forest seeks to combine both on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The outing will depart from the headquarters building at 304 Middleton Road in North Andover. This is a moderately paced walk that is perfect for winter vacation week. It is appropriate for all ages, but best suited for children 5 and older. Participants will learn about animal signs in the forest along the way.

The walk is co-sponsored by the Friends of Harold Parker and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information, call 617-828-1728.


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