One-man play tells story of courage and religious freedom


September 7, 2018


The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington have collaborated with St. Luke Productions to bring the theater production Tolton: From Slave to Priest to Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria. This one-man show, performed by actor Jim Coleman and directed by Leonardo Defilippis, is based on the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, a former slave who conquered nearly impossible odds to become the first black man to be ordained to the priesthood by the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

The play is currently on a national tour. This is the first time the show will be presented in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area – and we are making it free for the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Click here to watch the trailer. To learn about the production or to reserve tickets, please visit

Here are the dates and showtimes:


Bishop Ireton High School, 201 Cambridge Road, Alexandria



November 16 - 7 p.m.
November 17 - 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. 
November 18 - 4 p.m. 


About the Fr. Augustus Tolton
Born in 1854 to enslaved parents in Missouri, Augustus Tolton sensed a call to the priesthood after escaping to freedom and gaining a Catholic education. When he was rejected by every American seminary to which he applied, Tolton studied and was ordained a priest in Rome. He then returned to minister the faithful in Chicago, where he remained until his death in 1897.  Tolton is a Servant of God which means he’s being considered for sainthood.