The Community College of Rhode Island Players will host an open conversation about diversity and identity within our campus community this week.
The open forum, "Diversity, Inclusion and the CCRI Community," will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the auditorium at the Liston Campus in Providence.
"We want to have a productive open conversation about our identity as the most diverse higher education community in the area," said Theodore Clement, associate professor of theater at CCRI. "The forum will give us a chance to have a positive look at who we are as a community."
The conversation will pave the way for the playwriting workshop the following morning at 11 in the auditorium, during which some 50 students, alumni, faculty and staff will develop original one-minute plays based on the topics discussed at Thursday's forum.
"These are important conversations to be had right now, especially as we are the most diverse college in the state," he said.
The plays created during the workshop will be featured at "The One-Minute Play Festival: Our Response," scheduled at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Trinity Repertory Company in downtown Providence. The free event will feature locally produced plays exploring equity, inclusion and race.
Leading the workshop are Dominic D'Andrea, producing artistic director and founder of the One-Minute Play Festival, and Joe Wilson Jr., a Trinity Repertory Company member and playwright.
The one-minute play event is inspired by "Every 28 Hours," an event featuring a series of plays written by Wilson and others last year in Ferguson, Missouri, responding to the contested statistic that a black person is killed by a vigilante, security guard or police every 28 hours.
Trinity Rep will revisit last year's plays on Oct. 17, when actors of varying ages,
races and experiences read more than 90 plays. Wilson will facilitate a conversation
after the performance.
Wilson said the forum at CCRI and accompanying one-minute plays provide a space for as many divergent voices as possible.
"Theater explores human nature through watching ordinary human beings dealing with extraordinary circumstances," Wilson said. "The stories we see and hear about in our own lives are about ordinary people who are sometimes asked to deal with extraordinary circumstances."
Setting the conversation about race, inclusion and diversity in the theater allows the community to explore the issues in their own lives, Wilson said.
"Using art helps facilitate these conversations," he said. "To be able to provide a space for these to happen is a great blessing."
CCRI's plays will be performed alongside plays from Wheaton College, the University of Rhode Island, the Southside Cultural Center in Providence and the city of Providence.
"For our students it is an amazing opportunity to get on stage at Trinity Repertory with company members from theaters across the state," Clement said.
The forum and workshop are sponsored by the Charles Sullivan Fund for the Arts and Humanities and the Office of Student Life.
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