The Theatre Arts Division at Columbia's School of the Arts and Isadora Productions will conduct a diversity panel on Oct. 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Miller Theatre, located at 2960 Broadway at 116 Street. This is an opportunity for well-known and respected industry members to tackle the tough questions surrounding diversity and to answer audience questions and comments.
The latest U.S. census has rendered moot the traditional definition of "minority." People previously considered minorities now make up the majority of the U.S. population. The event will open with a 20-minute performance piece followed by a panel discussion that will deal with the following questions: Is the theater successfully embracing diversity? Can we successfully implement nontraditional casting without taking away from the celebration of different cultures? Can we support writers and actors of color without alienating other cultures? Does nontraditional casting support diversity or merely cover up a larger problem?
The keynote speaker is award-winning playwright and Columbia alumna Migdalia Cruz, who will introduce a brief performance of selected monologues from her play Telling Tales, which takes an inside look at 11 diverse people living in the same neighborhood in New York City. The panel will conclude with the reading of an essay written by Russell Simmons, creator and producer of Def Poetry Jam and Def Comedy Jam and CEO of Def Records.