I define community-engaged productions as work that: 1) involves multiple organizations within the creative process, 2) targets a specific community for engagement, and 3) extends engagement beyond the production itself.
Sample Project: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
In addition to serving as artistic director for this production at Pulaski Technical College in Spring 2011, I initiated and coordinated extensive on-campus and off-campus community engagement efforts.
Off-Campus Community Engagement Efforts Included:
- A full partnership with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to perform in their theatre space.
- A full partnership with Laman Library to host two free workshops attended by community members. The first workshop was a reading circle facilitated by Pulaski Tech English instructor and minority literature specialist Jerrica Ryan in which participants read and discussed the choreopoem. The second workshop was a visual art/writing workshop facilitated by Pulaski Tech adjunct art instructor Kimberly Kwee and “Tales From the South” host Paula Morrell in which participants created a work of visual art based on themes from the choreopoem which will be exhibited throughout the run of the show.
- A table staffed by a representative from SafePlaces to provide information on domestic violence and healty relationships before and after each performance
- Parkview high school students created “living sculptures” of each “colored girl” as part of the lobby display
- A North Little Rock high school student wrote a series of poems, one for each “colored girl,” to be exhibited next to “living sculptures”
- Thematic art exhibit by local artist Loni Harshaw in the lobby for pre-show
- Community-member initiated lobby display on history of choreopoem
- An on-going digital slide show of our creative process in lobby
- Cast and crew comprised of both college and community representatives
On-Campus Community Engagement Efforts Included:
- Facilitated Pulaski Tech students in the creation of “mini-choreopoems” when invited by classroom teachers.
- Most English instructors included For Colored Girls in the semester curriculum.
- Coordinated with the Network for Student Success, a federally-funded program that works on African-American male retention, to host a “Network Night” in the run of the show
- Initiated a PTC recruitment table for run of show
- Initiated a “Real Talk” night in which the Network for Student Success discussed themes from the play with their students
- Collaborated with the Committee on Cultural Diversity to host and serve as panel member on an Open Forum discussing the play