Thought I’d debrief on a couple things now that I’ve re-settled myself after the AATE conference.
A Few Aha! Moments and the Beautiful People who Led Me to Them
- On the whole “is-it-okay-to-do-a-Latino (Chicano, West Indian, insert-racial or ethnic identity here) play-when you only have white students” question: Putting aside the obvious opportunities this presents to invite diversity into your school/program/theatre, in the amateur theatre setting children of color are asked to play roles written for white people all the time. Given the option to bring a play with characters of diverse identities to a greater audience, not having diversity in your ranks is not a valid excuse for depriving such students from the exposure– in fact, it’s more reason it’s needed. (h/t Roxanne Schroeder-Arce)
- There aren’t nearly enough Asian American TYA plays, particularly with female protagonists that are not stereotyped as “model minority,” etc. (h/t YiRen Tsai)
- Outstanding assessment question for students attending theatre programming: “Did you see yourself onstage?” May all children and youth have the chance to experience art that makes them explain “I see me!” (h/t AATE’s Multiculturalism and Diversity Committee)
- Labeling children with special needs as “high functioning” or “low functioning” is pejorative. (h/t Diane Nutting)
- There has been some great reflection in the field about ethical issues in TYA and arts education recently. The impetus for this reflection has not always been wholly altruistic, but the ethical questions of our field are many and demand attention. (h/t Drew Chappell, Matt Omasta, and the Youth and Professional Theatre Networks)