Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Panel: Theatre for Social Change
Recorded On: 06/25/2021
Hear from a diverse panel of theatre practitioners, educators and researchers in an exploration of theatre as an agent for social change. Consider how theatre practice, theatre works, and theatre education connect to goals for equity, diversity and inclusion. Come away with ideas you can use to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in your troupe or school. Expert presenters on the panel include Rikki Howie, Baltimore area performer, director and choreographer, Donatella Galella, University of California Riverside, Dr. Natka Bianchini, Loyola University Theatre Department of Fine Arts, Jorge Arroyo, LaGente Latinx Theatre Design Network, and Hugh Fletcher Troupe Director and Theatre Educator from New York City.
This session was first offered at 2021 International Thespian Festival.
Performer, Director, Choreographer
Richelle "Rikki" Howie works with several theater companies as performer, director and choreographer and most recently teaching artist and Diversity consultant/liaison. With over 100 shows under her belt, she is the proud owner of Confidence Theatrics, a theatrical consulting and training company set on bringing diversity conversations and accessible theatrical industry training to the DMV and theatrical community at large. Ms Howie is a board member The Free Theatre ,Greenbelt Arts Center, and ArtsCentric of Baltimore. Change starts with one conversation and continues with continued exploration, be the catalyst!!!
University of California, Riverside
Donatella Galella teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Her book America in the Round: Capital, Race, and Nation at Washington DC's Arena Stage is a critical history of the first professional theatre in the US capital. She has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and NPR, among other venues, for her work on race, casting, and musical theatre. She is currently researching how yellowface persists in contemporary theatre and how Asian American artists have worked against racism.
Dr. Natka Bianchini
Department of Fine Arts – Loyola University
Dr. Natka Bianchini is a director, theatre scholar, and educator with more than 17 years of teaching experience. Currently as Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Loyola University Maryland, Dr. Bianchini has taught a wide array of courses in theatre history, directing, and dramatic literature including courses on Urban Drama, Queer Theatre and Film, and Black Lives Matter on Stage. As a scholar, she has published two books; Samuel Beckett’s Theatre in America (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), and Albee and Influence (Brill Press, 2021), as well as numerous chapters, articles, and reviews. Dr. Bianchini is a resident artist and board member with Iron Crow Theatre, Baltimore’s award-winning, professional queer theatre where she has directed three highly acclaimed productions. As a professional director, she has more than 30 directing credits on the regional and educational level. Dr. Bianchini holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in drama from Tufts University, and a B.A. in sociology from Wellesley College.
Jorge is a freelance Lighting Designer based in Boston and New York. His work has been seen at venues such as The Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, The Public Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, La Mama, Weston Playhouse, TheatreSquared and others. He has previously served as the Resident Lighting Designer for Dreamcatcher Repertory Theater, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, and Luna Stage. He has created designs for over 50 shows at both the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center for artists such as Alicia Keys, Gabriel Iglesias, the Wayans Brothers, the Chieftains, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Paquito D'Rivera, Phoebe Snow, Stanley Jordan, Kenny Garrett, Jackie Mason, and others. He has also worked with choreographer Stacey Tookey, three-time Emmy nominee for her choreography on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, on her production of Moments Defined in both New York and California. In 2004 he was selected by Lighting Dimensions Magazine for feature in an article on "designers to watch" and has co-authored the last three versions of the Lightwright manual and tutorial. Jorge received his MFA from New York University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Boston University and is a member of USA Local 829.
Troupe Director & Theatre Educator
Hugh Fletcher is the Theatre Director at Dr. Roland Patterson Middle School. He is also the Jr. Thespian Troupe Director of Troupe 89019. He has been teaching since 2002, and founded the Theatre Department in 2008. He is also a playwright, actor, singer and director. He's had two plays produced professionally and has worked as an acting teacher and coach at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. He is a proud alumnus of Thespian Troupe 2888.