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A Collaboration between David Gonzalez and Daniel Carlton

From New York, New York

About the Company

FINDING NORTH brings to life the powerful stories of the strivings, sacrifices and dreams of John P. Parker, a former enslaved man who dedicated his life to helping enslaved people escape through the Underground Railroad in southern Ohio. Drawn from historical research, Parker’s tale is woven together with verbatim interview material and oral histories from contemporary community members who tell their stories of searching for haven. A timely and provocative contribution to the national conversation about prejudice, privilege, and human rights, the play is both an exploration and celebration of the continuing quest for justice and freedom in America.


Originally written by David Gonzalez and commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to celebrate the opening of Cincinnati's Underground Railroad Freedom Center, FINDING NORTH has been updated through the collaboration of David Gonzalez with performer/director Daniel Carlton. Carlton  captivates the audience with his one-man performance of John Parker and all the other characters, while accompanied by Gonzalez playing blues guitar. The piece concludes with a dynamic audience talk-back.

This production is available to tour in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.

Best for: Grades 5th+ (10 years+)

Audience Size: Small, Medium, & Large Venues


An Introduction to the project

Interview with David Gonzalez and Daniel Carlton

Curriculum Connections

  • Fine Arts: Storytelling, Blues Music, Theater

  • Language Arts: Oral History, Memoir 

  • History: African American History, Underground Railroad, Contemporary American Immigrant Narratives, European History

  • Emotional/Social Development: Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Self Management, Relationship Skills, Compassion, Empathy

Curriculum Connections

Outreach and Workshops

Finding North: Using historical narratives and oral histories to teach social justice in the classroom

FINDING NORTH was commissioned in partnership with The Underground Railroad National Freedom Center to celebrate the courage and conviction of people who have struggled to make America a “more perfect union”.  The play provides a vivid template for educators to consider historical narratives and contemporary interviews as entry points into social studies, history, creative writing, theatrical arts, and, perhaps most importantly, social justice. The workshop includes: background and development of the piece, performances/readings from the play, reflection on themes, exploration of oral history as research in the classroom, a discussion on how the play sheds light on contemporary issues, and a conclusion. 


The Art of Collaboration: Co-Creating Theater as a Model for Cooperative Learning in the Classroom:


Creativity thrives in collaboration, except when it doesn’t. There is no magic to creative collaboration, rather it comes about via a set of specific techniques and interpersonal skills that can be directly applied to classroom learning. Dr. Gonzalez and Mr. Carlton guide us into a collaborative process which exemplifies these capacities through activities such as: First Choices, Non-Judgmental Listening, “YES-AND”, “What If?”, and Revise/Compromise.

Sensory Friendly Performances

FINDING NORTH  is available as a “sensory friendly” or “relaxed” performance if arranged with the company in advance and with specific direction as to what adjustments are necessary for your venue.

Minimum Technical Requirements

  • Load In Time: 4 hours

  • Min. Stage Size: 12 ft deep x 30 ft wide

  • Sound: 16 channel mixer, mics, countryman, monitors

  • Load Out Time: 30 mins

  • Crew: 1 sound & 1 lighting crew for load in/out and show run.

Minimum Tech
Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Written by David Gonzalez

Performance and additional text by Daniel Carlton

Music performed by David Gonzalez

Critical Acclaim

“Finding North is a brilliant and powerful piece for all ages and races. It carefully intertwines the struggles of various ethnic groups to define freedom in our country. I highly recommend seeing this production to learn more about the heroic life of abolitionist John Parker and how the strivings for Freedom remain important for all Americans.” – Michael Griffin, MSW, Public Programs Manager, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Cincinnati, OH.


“I was mesmerized, I didn’t want it to end – I’ve never seen anything like it. David inspired our school to do better and make the most of our lives and assure us that all dreams are possible. The take-away from David’s performance was there is greatness in you no matter what your economic or cultural background is, you have worth and value.” Faye Kennebrue, Phoenix Community Learning Center. Cincinnati, OH.

Critical Acclaim

Company Background

About David Gonzalez:

David is the proud recipient of the 2011 International Performing Arts for Youth "Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence". In 2010 Mr. Gonzalez was named a Joseph Campbell Foundation Fellow. He was nominated for a 2006 Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" for his production of The Frog Bride at Broadway's New Victory Theater. He has created numerous productions, including the critically acclaimed ¡Sofrito! with The Latin Legends Band, and MytholoJazz, both of which enjoyed sold-out runs at New Victory Theater. David's work, Wounded Splendor, was the result of a two-year residency and commission from the University of Maryland. Sleeping Beauty, co-commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn College, and The McCallum Theater, premiered in March 2010 and has gone on to tour nationally including a run at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. David was a featured performer at the 2007 National Storytelling Festival, and has performed at festivals in Spain, Switzerland, France, Costa Rica, Norway, Puerto Rico, and throughout the United States. He also appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. Mr. Gonzalez is the Artistic Director for The Alliance for a New Humanity, an international service organization dedicated to peace and sustainability. He received his doctorate from New York University's School of Education.

For more information, please visit David's website:

About Daniel Carlton:


Daniel Carlton is an actor , storyteller, playwright, poet , director, and award winning teaching artist who has appeared on New York, national, and international stages. His work has also been presented in schools, jails, homeless shelters, libraries, and every imaginable place to perform (except for outer space). Playwright credits include: “March On," based on interviews with attendees of the 1963 March On Washington and is currently touring. (recently sold out The Apollo Theatre school day live performances) "TIMELESS JOURNEYS” (a series of monologues based on the history of free African Americans in Brooklyn, NY, commissioned by The Weeksville Heritage Society, to highlight the story of this under told National Landmark). Co-authored along with Michael Green "A WHISTLE IN MISSISSIPPI" -the life and death of Emmett Till (currently touring) His verse play "PIGFOOT MARY SAYS GOODBYE TO THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE " (writer and performer) was produced by The Metropolitan Playhouse and has since both toured schools and is presented as one of the touring shows of The Negro Ensemble Company. Most recently, he was director of the workshop production of "Night Train 57 at the Kennedy Center in D.C , and “Saying Something “ at Columbia University's Miller Theater for “The While We Are Still Here“ project.


For more information, please visit Daniel's website:

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