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Documentary chronicles founder of Black Theatre Troupe

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PHOENIX -

A Phoenix woman is the focus of a documentary that is debuting in the valley this weekend.

Bryant Monteilh chose Black History Month as the time to screen his documentary entitled "A Legacy in the Valley."

It is a salute to his grandmother who died 10 years ago, but lives on in a special way.

It's a history of a driving force in Phoenix, who changed the landscape for thousands of young people.

Helen K. Mason's grandson Bryant honors her with a documentary debuted during Black History Month.

"A legacy, I think, is like a dream," said Monteilh.

The documentary draws on family and friends to tell about Mason's legacy as she founded the Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix in  the 1970s.

"If there's any legacy that any black person left in Phoenix, Helen Mason is that one. There's no question in my mind, she was a pioneer in the city of Phoenix," said Monteilh.

Mason's Grandson, Monteilh wrote produced, directed, the documentary which even chronicles the arrival of Mason's family in Arizona and journey in 1868 from Arkansas before she was born.

100 years later, Mason would launch the Black Theatre Troupe.

"Because my grandmother was real instrumental in doing that. she wanted to help the young people through performing arts the arts is really another piece we can educate children, educate young people," said Monteilh.

Mason's goal to bring the arts to inner city youth in Phoenix.

"It saved my life. When I did it, we were still at Phoenix Union and we just though we were the cats meow because we doing something and people were coming by and tickets to see us," said Monteilh.

You can still attend a viewing on either Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in South Phoenix or on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Arizona Science Center.

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