UPCOMING: Family History Discussion Series


The Flying Carpet Theatre, is embarking on a new kind of exploration of how our family history impacts our sense of self. In the first phase of this work, we are hosting a series of web-based discussions with people who’ve built family trees from scratch and had epiphanies when they learned about their ancestors and family histories. The program will initially be web video conversations with a diverse array of guests. Due to the selection of guests, we anticipate robust conversations about oppressors, bystanders, victims, the hidden, the brash, the loud, the hard work, the racism, the brave exodus, and everything else that makes up the our American patchwork quilt…Because it’s all in our family stories….

The series will be co-hosted by Dr. Peter Candler and FCT Artistic Director, Adam Koplan.

Listen to them describe the series on Atlanta’s WABE 90.1 City Lights with Lois Reitzes here.


Did you go on a process of research and discovery to learn about ancestors?

Did the search lead to any revelations or surprises?

Email us at: info@flyingcarpettheatre.com


Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 – 1:30pm

In the first episode, series hosts Adam and Pete will interview each other about their own respective journeys in learning about family history. Pete (now based in Asheville) has been using his encounters with family history to be the anchor of much of his activism and artistic creation. In doing so he’s created a series of photographs and essays called, “A Deeper South.” He and a have been traveling across the South and documenting the trips – places they thought they knew but now look at afresh. They describe it thusly: “A Deeper South is a literary-photographic quest along the backroads of the Deep South. The vision of A Deeper South is rooted in the idea that the spiritual, political, and cultural health of a nation, region, city, town, or person depends upon an honest and unflinching memory; that the gravest danger to our cities and ourselves is a willful amnesia; that hope is to be found through the work of active remembrance, putting back together the fragments of personhood scattered by a culture of selective memory.”

You can watch the full webinar HERE!


Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 – 7:30pm

John Hearn first discovered genealogy when he was 9 years old.  That year he traveled solo from his home Pittsburgh to join his grandmother on a family fact-finding mission in Alabama. Together, they examined miles of microfiche in the State Archives, explored crumbling cemeteries, and visited long-forgotten farmsteads. It was the beginning a years-long fascination, rooted in a profound love of history, and spurred by a curiosity about the wild mash-ups that comprise the American story. Genealogy gave John a much-needed sense of being grounded as he grew up in the industrial North—with a father descended from a dozen generations of Southern farmers, and a mother who immigrated to New York from Prague in 1953. That feeling of context continues to serve him well as he ventures into uncharted territories as an entrepreneur and consultant. John is a Managing Partner of Stimulus, a New York-area incubator of new businesses and an advisor to existing ones. He studied politics and economics at Swarthmore College.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 – 1:30pm

Dena Schusterman is a modern-day Hasidic woman. She is a mother of 8 children including twins, and a founder of Chabad Intown, Atlanta, GA. She is the founding Director of the Intown Jewish Preschool, wife to her husband, and spends time writing, teaching, and mentoring the people in her community. She is currently writing a memoir about being rooted in Hasidic and ancient traditions yet planted in a modern world. She is primarily interested in the Jewish stories passed down from generation to generation and how these Jewish stories are relevant in modern times. How stories and their time travel, and the opportunity they afford the listener to walk in someone else’s shoes gave her perspective and resilience and how she notices that it gives her children the same.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!


Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 – 1:30

In the second episode, series hosts Adam and Pete will interview Joel Johnson. Joel Johnson is a Black writer and veteran ad agency executive. He has worked in agencies in New York, Chicago, and London and currently co-owns Admirable Devil, an agency in Washington, DC. He’s researched his family lineage since 2005 and recently began telling the stories of his ancestors on his blog, Struggle and Progress. He is primarily interested in researching the lives of his free and enslaved Black ancestors prior to and throughout emancipation, and during the period known as Reconstruction. His research has identified his biological European ancestors as well. Joel is a graduate of Swarthmore College, Goldsmiths College in London, and Northwestern University.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!


Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 – 7:30pm

Eric Behrens was tapped in his teens to become the family historian by his father’s extended family, who began to share personal papers, photographs, and oral history. Because several of his ancestral lines trace back to well-documented protestant German and Swiss settlers in colonial Pennsylvania, he had a sense of his familial origin story for as long as he can remember. His genealogical interests went through several phases over the years, but prompted self-reflection when he suddenly became an adoptive father 12 years ago. Now he thinks and talks about family history in a very different way. Although a theater major in college, Eric has had a 28-year (accidental) career as a technologist in hIgher-education. He is currently the Vice President for Library and Information Services at Widener University.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!


Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 – 7:30pm

William McMillian is a Missourian that has lived in New York City for the past twenty-five years. A child of two rural elementary school teachers, Art and History, gave him a love of historical homes, design, and Civil War battlefield sites. William redesigned Flying Carpet Theater’s branding, collateral, and website back in 2012. He’s lived all over (MO, AZ, RI & NY) the United States and began his family history journey in Arizona at the Mormon Family History Center in 1995.  He originally started researching the McMillian side of the family., however, he soon found his mother’s side had fascinating deep Southern and early colonists roots dating back to Jamestown’s third landing in 1609.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!

keep eyes peeled for upcoming discussions!