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Anti-Racist Theatre

As political activist and author Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” Content in this section is about moving our field away from harmful white supremacist power structures and ways of working, and into a just and equitable future. Start with essays on anti-racist stage management practices, combatting white supremacy culture in training programs and intimacy direction, and supporting parent-artists through an anti-racist lens.

The Latest

Imagining with Victor Vazquez
Podcast
Imagining with Victor Vazquez
by Yura Sapi, Victor Vazquez
8 February 2023
Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy
Podcast
Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy
by Yura Sapi, Abundance Zaddy
18 January 2023
Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi
Podcast
Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi
by Yura Sapi
11 January 2023
Imagining with Victor Vazquez
Podcast

Imagining with Victor Vazquez

8 February 2023

Victor Vazquez joins Yura Sapi to share his experience creating X Casting, a casting company that spans theatre and film in the United States and worldwide through a shared purpose of collective liberation and anti-racism. This episode’s topics include thinking about our role in the political landscape, globalism, and a curiosity for generous solutions.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image.
Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy
Podcast

Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy

18 January 2023

Abundance Zaddy joins Yura Sapi to talk about creating Cause Reign, an oral history project that connects Black people—with a focus on Black trans and queer folks—to their histories through dreamwork, the practice of remembering, recording, and activating the healing potential of dreams. Topics in this episode include prioritizing love and sweetness, transcending time, and asking for consent.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image.
Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi
Podcast

Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi

11 January 2023

How exciting is it to transform our future and be the future ancestors we dream for? Yura Sapi opens the space with a gratitude ritual and shares about what’s to come on the new season of the Building Our Tables podcast. Topics for this season include evolutionary times, the four elements, and sounds of nature.

The cover of a book called The Wildcard Workbook: A Practical Guide for Jokering Forum Theatre. It is purple and yellow.
The Wildcard Workbook: Why Forum Theatre and Why Now?
Essay

The Wildcard Workbook: Why Forum Theatre and Why Now?

15 November 2022

Theatremakers Sulu LeoNimm, Liz Morgan, and Katy Rubin discuss the process of co-authoring The Wildcard Workbook, a guide designed to help others in the field delve into Theatre of the Oppressed practices and devised theatre processes.

event poster for reflecting forward session two: Art, Race & Dialogue.
Animating Democracy Session Two
Video

Animating Democracy Session Two

Art, Race, and Dialogue

Thursday 13 October 2022
United States

Art2Action and Animating Democracy presented Art, Race, and Dialogue, the second event in the series Animating Democracy: REFLECTING FORWARD, livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 13 October 2022 at 1 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

Two actors staring lovingly into each other's eyes.
Erasure is Not an Option: Intimacy Advocacy Through a Transgender Lens
Essay

Erasure is Not an Option: Intimacy Advocacy Through a Transgender Lens

A Conversation with Raja Benz

30 August 2022

Ann James sits down with intimacy choreographer Raja Benz to discuss her experience implementing cultures of consent in rehearsal rooms, cultivating a localized approach to intimacy work, and centering trans perspectives in theatrical processes.

Balancing Power Through Intimacy in the Rehearsal Space
Essay

Balancing Power Through Intimacy in the Rehearsal Space

26 August 2022

Ann James chats with Rocio Mendez about her work as an intimacy director, connections between intimacy choreography and fight direction, and getting excited about theatre’s fieldwide trend toward including intimacy specialists in production teams.

sculpture floating above a theatrical stage.
Intimacy and Equity: A Balancing Act
Essay

Intimacy and Equity: A Balancing Act

23 August 2022

Ann James introduces the Rebuilding for the Future: A Convergence of Thought Leaders in Intimacy Practice series with this call for intimacy professionals to build a foundation of equity in the industry by interrogating available mentorship and training structures. This essay begins that work by highlighting the need for a diverse pool of training ideologies and methods; and the interview-based series that follows takes up that need by highlighting the perspectives of eight practitioners who navigate the intimacy industry in a variety of ways.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Writing Detroit: Dominique Morisseau’s Practice of the Possible
Podcast

Writing Detroit: Dominique Morisseau’s Practice of the Possible

10 August 2022

Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview award-winning and acclaimed playwright Dominique Morisseau about her recent Broadway productions of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations and Skeleton Crew; the future of Detroit theatre and performance; and reckoning with American history. Ealey and Ridley discuss Morisseau’s practice of reparative creativity and the ability for theatre to serve as a rehearsal for true change.

Daughter of Lorraine teaser image
When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre
Podcast

When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre

20 July 2022

In this episode, Leticia and Jordan finally explain what they mean when they say Black feminism, especially in theatre and performance. They engage Lisa M. Anderson’s tenets of Black feminist drama, alongside other contemporary scholars and artists expansion of Black feminist theatre. They discuss Black feminist theory, black feminist practice in creative work, and black feminist theatre theory.

Full cast sit together for a picture.
Seeing Double: Double Consciousness as a Black Theatre Practitioner
Essay

Seeing Double: Double Consciousness as a Black Theatre Practitioner

14 July 2022

Ekemini Ekpo applies W.E.B. Dubois’ concept of “double consciousness” to the experience of performing Blackness for a predominantly white audience that may or may not be interested in disturbing the primacy of their own lived experience.

Screenshot of a zoom meeting.
From Awareness to Action: Facilitating Change in the American Theatre
Essay

From Awareness to Action: Facilitating Change in the American Theatre

13 June 2022

Lauren E. Turner, producing artistic director of No Dream Deferred, sits down with Amelia Parenteau to discuss their recent experiences in anti-racist facilitation work through No Dream Deferred’s service, Equity and Justice for Institutional Change.

event poster for the conversation Developing and Sharing a Values-Centric Accountability Plan.
Developing and Sharing a Values-Centric Accountability Plan
Video

Developing and Sharing a Values-Centric Accountability Plan

Representatives from theaters engaged in anti-racism work share their experiences of creating an actionable plan

Monday 4 April 2022
United States

The Playwrights Realm presented the panel Developing and Sharing a Values-Centric Accountability Plan, livestreaming on the commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Monday 4 April 2022 at 1 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 21:00 BST (London, UTC +1).

Two people wearing costumes and holding signs that say "Bush" and "World".
Creating Puppet Solidarities
Essay

Creating Puppet Solidarities

24 January 2022

Sarah Plummer kicks off the puppet series by introducing the series contributors and exploring the way their work highlights puppetry’s capacity to form solidarities among humans and nonhumans.

Several people dancing together in a room.
Thinking Through Racism: Nigerian Theatre’s Response
Essay

Thinking Through Racism: Nigerian Theatre’s Response

11 January 2022

Eseovwe Emakunu sits down with theatre practitioner Israel Wekpe to discuss how he and other Nigerian theatre artists use theatre to address racism and discrimination.

A man in a suit and glasses standing and smiling behind two figures.
You Want Me to Balance What?
Essay

You Want Me to Balance What?

Why the Argument That Fiscal Sustainability is More Important Than Investing in Racial Justice Needs to Go Away

16 December 2021

Ryan Ferrebee discusses the disadvantages of theatres attempting to balance fiscal responsibility with anti-racism work from his perspective as a white fundraising professional.

Imagining a New Federal Theatre Project with Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne
Podcast

Imagining a New Federal Theatre Project with Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne

24 November 2021

As a part of the New Deal, the Federal Theatre Project of the 1930s funded theatre in the United States at an unprecedented level, providing paid work for trained theatremakers and low-cost performances to audiences all around the country. Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne discuss the history of the Federal Theatre Project and its potential to act as a model for a New Federal Theatre Project formed in conjunction with racial justice, climate justice, and Land Back movements.

pink event poster with black power fist graphics.
Anti-racist Strategies in Dramaturgy
Video

Anti-racist Strategies in Dramaturgy

A Robust Discussion of Some of the Most Pressing Issues in Theatre’s Move Towards a Decolonized Model

Saturday 20 November 2021
London, United Kingdom

Dramaturgs' Network presented a panel on Anti-racist Strategies in Dramaturgy livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 20 November 2021 at 9 a.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 12 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5) / 17:00 GMT (London, UTC +0).

Reappraising the Legacy of Ernie McClintock with Dr. Ibby Cizmar
Podcast

Reappraising the Legacy of Ernie McClintock with Dr. Ibby Cizmar

6 October 2021

Dr. Ibby Cizmar joins the Theatre History Podcast to share her research on Ernie McClintock, who worked to develop a system of training and performance that could serve the specific needs of African American actors in the mid-twentieth century. A significant influence in the Black Arts Movement, McClintock’s methods continue to influence institutions and theatremakers today.

banner for event on anti-racist theatre.
Panel: What Does Anti-racist Producing Look Like?
Video

Panel: What Does Anti-racist Producing Look Like?

A Cohort of Theatre Professionals Discuss the Many Ways They’re Embracing a Values-centric Approach to Putting on a Show.

Thursday 23 September 2021
New York City

What does anti-racism look like when applied to the theatre’s core activity — producing plays? In this panel, a cohort of theatre professionals discuss the many ways they’re embracing a values-centric approach to putting on a show, from first rehearsal all the way to closing night. Livestreamed on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 23 September 2021 at 1 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 21:00 BST (London, UTC +1).

A magical black female figure breaking open a door.
Can I Come? Envisioning the Future of Inclusion on Broadway and Beyond
Essay

Can I Come? Envisioning the Future of Inclusion on Broadway and Beyond

13 September 2021

Regina Victor paints a picture of a future for the theatre industry with cultural strategy at the center.

Three people sitting onstage, one of them holding a globe, and five spirits above them, one in the middle connecting two blocks with a spark in between them.
Public Access Archives: The End of the Theatre Industry
Essay

Public Access Archives: The End of the Theatre Industry

7 September 2021

Taylor Leigh Lamb and Sabine Decatur share emails, letters, social media posts, and more from the future that represent the period of profound change in the theatre industry beginning in 2021.

A portrait of the guest Ivyon E. against a galaxy background with the Building Our Own Tables logo to the left.
Funding Accountability
Podcast

Funding Accountability

With Iyvon E. of The Parsnip Ship

1 September 2021

Yura Sapi sits down with Iyvon E., artistic director of The Parsnip Ship, a podcast play company that amplifies bold artists for audiences who crave accessible stories and storytellers.

portrait of robbie mccauley
Memorial Concert and Celebration of the Life of Robbie McCauley
Video

Memorial Concert and Celebration of the Life of Robbie McCauley

Sunday 15 August 2021
New York City

A memorial celebration of Robbie McCauley who was an American performance artist, writer and director who often put race at the center of plays and other works. Livestreamed on the commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Sunday 15 August 2021.

A headshot of the guest, Kyoung Park, against a space-designed background.
Peacemaking Theatre
Podcast

Peacemaking Theatre

With Kyoung Park of Kyoung's Pacific Beat

28 July 2021

Yura Sapi sits down with Kyoung H. Park of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, a peacemaking theatre collective dedicated to working with artists, non-artists, and local communities to transform experiences of oppression into peace messages through public performance.