Becoming Emily


In collaboration with Artistic Director Joan Lipkin, a talented team of some of the most innovative dancers and choreographers in the St. Louis area has developed original material based on the story of Emily Lyons.  Becoming Emily, tells the story of a nurse whose life was forever changed when the “New Woman, All Women” healthcare clinic where she worked was bombed.  The Becoming Emily creative team not only uses text from Emily and Jeff Lyon’s book, Life Has Been a Blast, but to more fully convey this incredible story, select choreographers employ a variety of dance and movement techniques including hip hop, jazz, fusion, folk, modern, dance, tap, Bharathanatyam, ballet and Dunham technique. Additional text has been adapted from waiting room reflections of clients at PreTerm, a family planning clinic in Cleveland. (more...)

What we are doing...



That Uppity Theatre Company in collaboration with am innovative team of dancers,choreographers, and storytellers, tells the powerful story of Becoming Emily.  The choreographers on Lipkin’s team include Summer Beasley, Dawn Karlovsky, Lee Nolting, Chris Page, Sarah Anne Patz, Ashley Tate, and Keith Tyrone Williams.

Becoming Emily tells the story of a nurse whose life was forever changed when the “New Woman, All Women” healthcare clinic where she worked was bombed.  “The blast only lasted a few microseconds, but it separated two lifetimes. I had to learn to walk, speak, use my vision, and many other basic functions.  Everything I had known was, pardon the pun, blown away.” – Emily Lyons

The bombing made international news. The blast from the nail bomb resulted in the murder of Birmingham police officer Robert Sanderson and grave injury to Emily. The man who bombed the clinic, Eric Rudolph, went into hiding, resulting in the longest and most expensive manhunt in the history of the FBI.  

Rudolph bombed the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where he murdered Alice Hawthorne and injured over a hundred innocent people.  Rudolph was also behind the bombings of a family planning clinic in Atlanta, as well as a lesbian nightclub the Otherside Lounge. Rudolph was on the FBI's Top-10 Most Wanted List.  The search lasted over five years and cost more than thirty million dollars.

Sadly, the name Eric Rudolph became a household name, while Emily Lyons and her husband Jeff are less known.

Becoming Emily seeks to redress that imbalance. It tells the story of what happened to Emily and Jeff Lyons, looks at how their relationship was tested and strengthened and represents just a few personal accounts from people who seek abortions.

The evocative performance of Becoming Emily poses many questions.  Does any belief system justify violence at this level?  What issues should be considered when it comes to having an abortion? Whose decision is it? How does someone psychically survive massive trauma and continue to live a meaningful life?

Multiple performances of Becoming Emily are scheduled at the Ethical Society St. Louis and The Black Cat Theatre.  In honor of their 40th anniversary, N.A.R.A.L. will host a special reception for Emily and Jeff Lyons at The Black Cat Theatre on June 18, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. 

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
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