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Monday, February 11, 2013

EVENT: "RACISM: WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE ONCE WERE" - a Free Panel Discussion @ SLAC (SLC: Feb 17)


At the start of Black History Month, Salt Lake Acting Company is pleased to offer an opportunity for the community to sit down and have a conversation exploring and celebrating diversity. Thisfree panel discussion, in conjunction with the World Premiere production of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award winner HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING by Shawn Fisher, a drama about racial integration and redemption, will be held on Sunday, February 17th at 4:00 PM. The panel discussion RACISM: WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE ONCE WERE will explore major themes of the play—our fears, our judgments, our vulnerability and the ability we have to face the past and forgive ourselves and others.

HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING was inspired by a 300-year-old, scarred oak tree in rural New Jersey. The tree’s trauma transports the audience for a journey that personalizes racial prejudice and its consequences. The panel will discuss key issues raised in the play, including:

1.      History of racial segregation and desegregation: With educational spaces being opened for all races in the 1950s, what can we draw from those experiences today? How is the reckoning moment of racial openness still upon us culturally? Are there movements and shifts in attitude still occurring, and how can those spaces be safe for all of us?
2.      Common ground: What separates us is so much smaller than what connects us. How can we move past the uncertainty of those perceived as “different”? How does each panelist’s perspective—culturally, historically, embodied reality—give a lens to this anxiety?
3.      Redemption: The panel will discuss the methods in which we seek to challenge ourselves and fears to be vulnerable to others, and, in the process, heal ourselves from the past.

SLAC is committed to connecting works from the stage to life in UtahSalt Lake City, and the Intermountain Region. By offering panel discussions in correlation with our most socially pertinent plays, SLAC provides the community with a forum to voice opinions and thoughts inspired by the play.

Please join the discussion with our talented moderator and fascinating panelists:

Terry Gildea (Moderator) is the News Director at KUER and is originally from San Antonio where he spent four years as a reporter and host at Texas Public Radio. While at KSTX, he created, produced and hosted the station's first local talk show, The Source; he covered San Antonio's military community for the station and for NPR's Impact of War Project. Terry's features on wounded warriors, families on the home front and veterans navigating life after war have aired on Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and All Things Considered. His half-hour radio documentary exploring the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center was honored by the Houston Press and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Prior to his position in San Antonio, Terry covered Congress for two years with Capitol News Connection and Public Radio International. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Washington and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He moderated several SLAC panel discussions, most recently the December 2012 panel discussion in conjunction with MANNING UP, displaying a remarkable ability to engage both audience and panelists, and we are thrilled to have him back for this event.

Rebecca Sanchez (Panelist) is the Director of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ Office of Diversity Affairs. She previously worked in the same position for Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and as Community Affairs Coordinator for former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis. Since her appointment in 2006 as Director of Diversity Affairs, Rebecca has promoted respect and understanding as tools to a stronger and more united community which welcomes and respects the uniqueness of all residents and visitors. Rebecca is very passionate about helping people connect with one another and shares the Mayor’s vision of an inclusive community for all. She grew up in Los Angeles and received her degree in Sociology at California State University at Long Beach.  She is also a graduate of the University of Utah’s conflict resolution program.

Shawn Fisher (Panelist) is a playwright whose original scripts include SCOPETHE CROW SONGCHUMMING and DO NOT HIT GOLF BALLS INTO MEXICO which was a 2011 National Finalist for the MetLife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award and a nominee for the David M. Cohen National Playwriting Award. This SLAC production of HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING is an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award winner and a finalist for the Urban Stages Emerging Playwright Award (NY).  In May, the play will continue on to the second half of its rolling world premiere at Cape May Stage in New Jersey. His work has been produced or had staged-readings at the Spanish Repertory Theatre (Off-Broadway), the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Urban Stages (Off-Broadway), Cape May Stage (NJ) and here at SLAC, among others. Shawn earned his MFA in Theatre Design from Brandeis University and currently serves as a Professor and Head of Graduate Studies in Theatre at Utah State University. At USU he runs the Fusion Theatre Project, an ensemble that creates original works that often focus on American attitudes towards race, violence, sexuality, religion and culture.  As a theatre designer he has produced over one hundred productions throughout the U.S.  He is a native of rural South Jersey, the setting for HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING, and he is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America.

Tim Chambless (Panelist) is the Academic Outreach Coordinator for the Hinckley Institute of Politics and a Professor/Lecturer of Political Science at the University of Utah. Since 1987 he has taught classes in American National Government and Political Parties as well as Law and Politics, Controversial Legal Issues and Mass Communication Law, and American Constitutional Law. For 15 years (1990-2005) he handled The Constitution telecourse seen statewide on KUED-TV Channel 9. Prior to teaching, he worked for Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and Utah Governor Scott Matheson, Congressman Wayne Owens and U.S. Senator Frank Moss. On June 8, 2010 he completed over 20 years of public service as a volunteer citizen planner for Salt Lake City Government where he served on the Board of Adjustment (over 11 years, nine years as chair) and nearly nine years on the Planning Commission – including terms as vice chair and chair.

‘Racism: Who We Are and Who We Once Were’ will be held in the upstairs theatre at the Salt Lake Acting Company on Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:00pm, following the 1:00 PM matinee and preceding the 6:00pm performance of HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING. The panel discussion is free. 160 theatre seats are available to the public.

HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING by Shawn Fisher, with Lucas Bybee, Jayne Luke & Glenn Turner
DATES                                    Opened:           February 6, 2013
                                                Closing:           March 3, 2013

TIMES                                                 Wed – Sat - 7:30 p.m.
                                                            Sun – 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
For tickets call 801-363-SLAC(7522), visit www.saltlakeactingcompany.org, or come to the box office at 168 West 500 North, Salt Lake CityUtah 84103. Student, Under 30, Senior and Group discounts available.
SLAC is a not-for-profit 501(c) in 1970 and is dedicated to producing, commissioning and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists.  SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a STP Actors Equity Association contract. SLAC is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group, a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres, and the National New Play Network.

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