McKinley Merrit (left) and Emily Helton (right)
Performance Dates and Locations:
• CBT Lab Theatre, Tuesday April 17, 7 PM
• Hodges Library Auditorium, Thursday April 19, 7 PM
• AMB Lecture Hall #27, Friday April 20, 7 PM
• AMB #210, Sunday April 22, 2 PM
PLAY it OUT began as a Senate-initiated one-semester pilot program in Spring of 2018 and will become a part of STRIDE training in Fall of 2018. PLAY it OUT uses socially engaged performance pieces based on interviews with current students and faculty to model civil and inclusive social interactions. The project seeks to openly address issues related to bias and unconscious bias and provide models of communication between groups of people from different backgrounds.
Our model for this initiative was the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Players. Our effort, initiated through the UTK Faculty Senate, with funding for the pilot project from the Department of Theatre, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost, hopes to prompt similar conversation and change at UT.
Up-and-coming playwright Steve Sherman returns this year to continue to direct and adapt scenes for use in faculty-led STRIDE training https://stride.utk.edu/, which seeks to improve recruiting and retention of a diverse faculty. Play it OUT reflects the experiences and needs of our own campus community and fosters conversation with audiences about how we can attract, retain, and cultivate a diverse faculty and community. It will also provide paid experience for young actors in our community.
Lead faculty members for the pilot included David Brian Alley (Theatre), Misty Anderson (English), Casey Sams (Theatre), Cal MacLean (Theatre) and Beauvais Lyons (Art). Special thanks to Soren Sorenson and the STRIDE committee for incorporating this project into their upcoming work.