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Link Roundup! – 7/31/15
The Guardian has a story about how theatre and the arts can connect youth with disabilities with non-disabled kids:
National statistics show that 65% of people avoid disabled people because they don’t know how to act around them, while 67% say they feel uncomfortable when talking to a disabled person. A survey by Scope and Mumsnet also found that four in 10 parents said their disabled child rarely or never had the opportunity to socialise with non-disabled children.
This project has been designed to bring disabled and non-disabled students together to create friendships and a shared understanding. Not all communication is verbal – which the creative arts are a great way to show. By encouraging these young people to work together, listen to one another and explore communication through sound, music, art and movement, we’re breaking down some of those social barriers and strengthening bonds between disabled and non-disabled people.
This past month, the Globe and Mail has been running a series following the theatre program of a Canadian high school as they rehearse and mount a musical. Parts 1-5 are online now:
After a decade of writing about the art form he loves, critic J. Kelly Nestruck found himself in a moment of crisis. Theatre, it seemed, had grown elitist and out of touch with the country it was supposed to entertain. To renew his faith, he went back to where it all began: high school. But can a group of teens enduring their own struggles prove that theatre is still worth fighting for?
On NPR, Gene Demby’s essay about Wyatt Cenac and what happens when you’re the only person of color in a room isn’t specifically about the arts, but has some great observations about group dynamics that are certainly applicable to theatre:
Not long ago, I spoke to Scott Page, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies how people interact in teams and organizations. His work on a mathematical formula to show how greater diversity makes organizations more effective has been explored in The New York Times. Page told me that while there’s been a lot of conversation lately about increasing the numbers of non-white, non-male people in various companies and sectors, it’s left open the question of how many folks those organizations are supposed to be aiming for. Is one enough? Is 10 too many? Can you fiddle the dials to calibrate some sort of ideal workplace diversity score?
The Guardian’s essay about how the visibility of an organization’s leadership impacts the success of the institution has some good reminders for anyone running a theatre:
I’m constantly hearing theatre-makers and those running buildings talking about theatre being a conversation. It should be. But the conversation can’t just be taking place in the auditorium on performance nights. It has to take place all over the building and beyond its walls. You can tell an awful lot about the culture of an institution through the visibility of its leaders – not just on press night – and the happiness, enthusiasm and involvement of those working there. (I don’t just mean the producers and the associates but the marketing, bar and front-of-house staff too.)