Civic Dialogue Series: Old Plays, New Faces: Representation in Classic Theater

Panel Discussion | January 31 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Dwinelle Hall, Rm. 370

 Melissa Hillman; Desdemona Chiang

 Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, Cal Shakes

This dialogue will explore representation on stage and ways in which traditional casting practices can act as a barrier to specific communities. We'll discuss how performing arts organizations are creating more inclusive practices to engage a more diverse range of performing artists, and we’ll consider questions of authentic experience and the actor’s craft.

Why is a more inclusive theater a better theater? Look to Shakespeare. He told stories that spanned time, place, status, gender with a depth of humanity that revealed our differences and our commonalities. He wrote for everyone, from the Queen to the Groundlings. His audiences were diverse, and they were inside each of his plays. For Shakespeare, the art and the people were one. They were not mere spectators; they were the characters; they were participants.

Shakespeare is our inspiration, our guidepost, our touchstone. If we believe in the enduring quality of his writing, we believe in equity and inclusion.

 tdps@berkeley.edu, 510-642.1677