CWU News

CWU Offers Series to Recognize, Combat Racism in the Performing Arts

A scene from Professor Anderson's “(Re)Current Unrest and the Fire This Time: Choreographic Strategies in response to BLM.”

Responding to a national call from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) for theater to recognize and work to rectify racism, Central Washington University is presenting the “Dialogues: Voices from Performance” series throughout the fall quarter. It’s being curated by CWU Theatre Arts and Africana and Black Studies Professor Natashia Lindsey.

“My goal is to highlight diverse voices from across the various disciplines and fields of theater, dance, and performance studies,” she said. “This series reflects one of the main tenets of critical race theory, ‘counter-storytelling.’”

Counter-story is a method of telling the stories of those whose experiences are not often acknowledged. It’s used to analyze, expose, and challenge mainstream narratives, Lindsey explained.

“The series seeks out the stories, experiences, art, and research of BIPOC theater artist-scholars as counter-stories to the western, White-focused canon and epistemological [ways of knowing] models of performance,” she added. “As theater, dance, and performance artist-scholars, we recognize the inherent power and validity of telling stories; it’s what we do.”  

The series has two more fall quarter presentations. On October 30, University of Texas Professor of African Diaspora Dance Studies Charles O. Anderson will make a virtual presentation at 10 a.m. about his work “(Re)Current Unrest and the Fire This Time: Choreographic Strategies in response to BLM.” The work was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, and also recognized by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts.  Registration for Anderson’s presentation is required.  

On November 13, Lisa Thompson will offer a short reading from her new book “Underground, Monroe, and The Mamalogues: Three Plays” and speak about her work as an artist/scholar.  Registration for Thompson’s presentation will also be required.  

There will be question-and-answer periods following both presentations.
The series is supported by the CWU Theatre Arts Department, Africana and Black Studies program, the Office of the Provost, Diversity and Equity Center, and the Ghostlight Project, a collaboration of 500 theatres across the US that have affirmed their commitments to diversity and inclusion.