List

The Politics and Ethics of Representation in Theatre

From an upper level seminar class, “The Politics and Ethics of Representation in Theatre,” these HowlRound articles fostered debate on controversial issues, modeled strategies for writing a manifesto about our beliefs on art-making and theatrical collaboration, and helped students propose an innovative season of plays that spoke to 21st Century audiences. Plays read included Jenkin’s Appropriate, Hwang’s Yellow Face, Ahktar’s Disgraced, Diamond’s Smart People, Mac’s Hir, Nottage’s Sweat, Baker’s The Flick, and Gao Xingjian’s Wildman.

A portrait of Emily Ball Cicchini.
New Media as Performance
Essay

New Media as Performance

19 January 2012

Emily Cicchini draws parallels between the process of making a new play to designing a new website, and offers inspiration on how that comparison can serve future new play development. 

The New Work of Building Civic Practice
Essay

The New Work of Building Civic Practice

9 July 2012

The needs of non-arts organizations, and theatre artists' assets can intersect through Civic Practice. This guide from Michael Rohd offers examples of application and what this work can accomplish.

I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face* (*Exception
Essay

I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face* (*Exception

David Henry Hwang’s play Yellow Face)

6 October 2014

In this installment, Mike Lew discusses the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the fraught practice of yellow face, and what equity for people of color actually looks like.

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America
Essay

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America

28 January 2016

Holly Derr speaks with Lynn Nottage about her new play Sweat, a co-commission of Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, currently playing in Washington, DC.

On the merits of Yellowface
Essay

On the merits of Yellowface

why casting the “best” actor for the role is actually just a selection of bias in a racist system

9 October 2015

Nelson T. Eusebio III addresses the argument that the “best” actor must always be cast in a role, regardless of race.

Igniting a Transgender Revolution in Chicago
Essay

Igniting a Transgender Revolution in Chicago

12 April 2017

Artist Delia Kropp discusses the state of transgender theatre in Chicago, Illinois and shares current initiatives to produce work by and for trans and gender-variant artists. 

We’re Not Playing
Essay

We’re Not Playing

A Theatrical Protest Initiative

16 January 2017

Playwright Tiffany Antone discusses Little Black Dress INK’s “We’re Not Playing” initiative, advocating the need for theatrical protest for social change.

The Laramie Project Project
Essay

The Laramie Project Project

Uniting Worldwide Stages to Spread Awareness of Hate Crimes

17 August 2017

High school performing arts student Alyssa Sileo discusses how creating a theatre advocacy project based on The Laramie Project helped her unite communities in the face of adversity. 

A tree floating in the air.
The Aesthetic Evolution of Eco Theater
Essay

The Aesthetic Evolution of Eco Theater

23 November 2013

Eco theater is not meant as a protest or an art installation at a climate change conference. It is a complete and independent artistic practice that happens to focus on ecological issues.

Universality in Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Essay

Universality in Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Does the Intent Justify the Impact?

9 March 2016

Arlene Martínez-Vázquez calls out the racism of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, the most widely produced play of 2015 in America.

Fears of the Artist Sustain a Dysfunctional System
Essay

Fears of the Artist Sustain a Dysfunctional System

5 February 2014

In this installation, playwright  and artistic dirctor Jamil Khoury reflects on the controversey spurred over the adaptation of The Jungle Book, which opened this summer in Chicago. 

A Brief History of the Gender Parity Movement in Theatre
Essay

A Brief History of the Gender Parity Movement in Theatre

4 March 2017

Jenny Lyn Bader looks at theatre’s gender parity movement.

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Gender
Essay

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Gender

Phase Three

7 July 2017

Porsche McGovern discusses the third phase of her study on LORT theatre designers.

Portrait of P Carl.
A Boy in a Man's Theater
Essay

A Boy in a Man's Theater

25 April 2012

P. Carl on why the lack of stories on American Stages about those who do not identify with a single gender, and the need to change it. 

A Collective Call Against Critical Bias
Essay

A Collective Call Against Critical Bias

26 June 2017

A collectively authored essay by leading artists, academics, and theatre advocates about Paula Vogel’s Indecent and Lynn Nottage’s Sweat on Broadway amid a conversation about critical bias toward women playwrights and playwrights of color.

Comedy, Contrivance, and Criticism
Essay

Comedy, Contrivance, and Criticism

A Defense of Smart People

26 April 2016

Anchuli Felicia King on the Second Stage production of Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People in New York.

Will & War
Essay

Will & War

Shakespeare Through the Lens of a Military Veteran

27 May 2014

The only reason that I am alive, sober, and surviving is because I have community and the performing arts. The performing arts community offers the perfect setting to share my story without being judged or condemned. It has been the performing arts that has kept me from being yet another veteran statistic. By examining and acting Shakespeare through my veteran lens I was able to understand what happened to me.

A person waving out of a window.
Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival
Essay

Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival

24 June 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the 2014 Chicago Home Theater Festival, which places participatory performances inside private homes.

Community-Specific Theatre
Essay

Community-Specific Theatre

Conversations, Connections, and Considerations

10 April 2015

Talleri McRae shares a conversation hosted by StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky about making theatre specific to a particular community.

Art in the Time of Fear and Loathing
Essay

Art in the Time of Fear and Loathing

12 September 2016

Playwright Cherry Lou Sy discusses Vineyard Theatre’s production of Indecent, reflecting on the culture of fear and the queer artists who have influenced her.