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Diversity Theater Program

RIT Diversity Theater is a university wide program that advances diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for faculty, staff, students and community partners using theatre based methods. Professional facilitators and performance artists engage participants in meaningful experiences within the context of diversity and inclusion education. Live theatre, forum theatre, reader’s theatre, film and other forms of visual and performance arts are used.

Mission

Diversity Theater at RIT strives to present the complexities and insights into the nature of diversity within a global context to the RIT community.

Goals

  • Expose the RIT community to discerning diversity issues regarding changing populations in the RIT community, their respective careers and the world.
  • Present theatre, film and performing arts as a vehicle to educate, motivate and address sociological, psychological and cultural diversity issues that can enhance the community’s capacity to recognize the most basic and common elements of humanity that bind us together.
  • Elevate participant knowledge regarding the complexities of diversity issues, social justice, equity and community standards.
  • Develop high quality original content that fosters community building.

 

Benefits

Diversity Theater impacts campus climate and intergroup relations. It acknowledges and celebrates diversity and employs inclusive practices throughout its daily operations.

Initiatives & Programs

Theatrical Sketches and Plays

Plays and short sketches that showcase academic and organizational development issues between faculty, staff and student groups. Presentations include published plays and customized scripts written by the Director of Diversity Theater and performed by Diversity Theater facilitator-actors.

Examples:

Photograph 51
A reading of Anna Zeigler’s pivotal play Photograph 51 about Rosalind Franklin’s discovery of DNA in the 1950’s.

“One Class, Many Stories”
The sharing of student diversity stories from the incoming freshman class followed by small group discussions.

“Unconscious Bias Play”
Playback theatre presentation and small group discussions of unconscious bias awareness for the College of Science new student orientation.

Playback Theatre

Community and team building workshops using the Playback Theatre model, a form of improvisational theatre where participants share personal stories around a common theme that are enacted on the spot by Playback actors and musicians. Playback Theatre workshops offer a dynamic multisensory storytelling experience using music, theatre, and movement. Participants get to know each other better and develop inclusive practices.

Examples:

Diversity Theater Community Building Workshops Playback Theatre video https://vimeo.com/331109319

College of Science Inclusive Excellence Community Building Workshops – a series of Playback Theatre workshops that focus on diversity and inclusion topics in a cohort learning format. https://www.rit.edu/castle/community-strand

Diversity Films & Community Discussions

Workshops that explore diversity and inclusion themes presented through films and interactive facilitated discussions. The workshops use commercially available films and those produced by Diversity Theater.

Example:

Brick by Brick, 16-minute narrative film produced by Diversity Theater.
Logline: A 19-year old brick mason comes to the big city to rebuild his relationship with the father he thought he knew.

Customized Training

Workshops customized to address specific objectives or audiences. Scripts are written by the Diversity Theater Director and presented with content experts and professional facilitators and actors.

Examples:

Active Bystander Training
Hands on training workshop for faculty and staff to foster a deeper understanding of what it means to be an active bystander. Participants engage in role-play to practice bystander techniques. Presented with ADVANCE RIT. Provides a safe place for skill building and practice.

Stereotype Threat Workshop

Designed with the Multicultural Center for Student Success, a two-hour workshop that showcased the effects of stereotype threat in the classroom through short vignettes. Increases awareness of stereotype threat and its affects upon student learning.

Train the Trainer

Training in the use of theatre-based methods for facilitators, group leaders, and Diversity and Inclusion practitioners. A variety of theatre-based facilitation methods are presented, such as hot-seating, improvisation and vignettes. Provides hands-on training of theatre-based methods and their applications.

    Contact

    Tina Chapman DaCosta
    Diversity Theatre Program Developer
    585-475-7932
    txcvks@rit.edu

    Who can join us?

    Everyone is welcome!  We are open to all RIT faculty, staff, students and community members who are willing to help, create, develop and promote Diversity Theater workshops.

    Diversity Theatre welcomes a variety of skills and members:

    Actors, writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, marketing team, communications team, stage managers, assistant directors and supporters.