WASHINGTON (AP) — Four major universities are joining theater companies in Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta to commission new plays, music and dance compositions about the Civil War and its lasting legacy.

The National Civil War Project being announced Thursday will involve programming over the next two years to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Harvard University will partner with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass.; The University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will join CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore; George Washington University is working with Arena Stage in Washington, and Atlanta's Alliance Theatre will join Emory University.

The project will include a new theatrical production of U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey's Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Native Guard." It recounts a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers.