Prejudice, discrimination or antagonism by an individual, community or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is minority or marginalised, is called Racism. Racism in Western mainstream theatre is quite pervasive. Moreover In mainstream theatre in the West, many of the audiences happen to be predominantly white. However this puts pressure on the playwrights and affect their voice. Moreover the performers feel pressurised to perform for white audience.
RACISM IN THEATRE : IT IS TIME TO ERADICATE THE BIAS
As we have understood that Racism is a belief that groups of humans possess different behavioural traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided, based on the superiority of one race over another. In the light of the movement “Black Lives Matter”, it is important to understand how Racism impacts theatre, too. Currently, many black artists are exposing widespread bias in theatre and white artists are reflecting on their responsibilities as allies. Theatre, as an extremely popular genre of performing art, has an important role to play in the effort to eradicate racism, raising awareness and helping others understand equity issues.
ANTI-RACIST THEATRE PROGRAM
Nicloe Brewer, the creator of Conscientious Theatre Training and Originator of the Anti-Racist Theatre Movement is teaching the world her unique approach through the Anti-Racist program. This theory combines Anti-Racist Theory, Social justice, Collectivism, Healing justice and Theatre Exercises. Nicole Brewer studied at Howard University where professors exposed her to an array of actors, playwrights and directors from many cultures and backgrounds. But she hit a wall of Racism in her graduate school in Northern Illinois. That experience spurred her to develop program that teaches behind-the-scenes staffers how to recognize racism in theatre settings and how it harms the actors of colours. This program is called “Anti Racist Theatre” and according to Brewer it goes deeper by challenging actors and stage hands to find solution.
• Firstly, in this 2 part 6 hours course, Nicole offers participants the tools to craft their own unique Anti-racist theatre methods and delve deeper into the 3 core principles of anti-racist theatre. These principles are harm reduction, harm prevention and relationship repair.
• Participants are guided through self -reflection exercises designed to strengthen their analysis of their position, power and privilege . Which will begin to uproot their racist practices, policies and protocols.
• Finally All those who believe in the fact that the way forward for theatre is anti-racist and anti-oppressive, are welcome. We all can make a difference if we wish and the future of the art will be nourished by us.
NEW PLAYS ON RACISM
The time is ripe and it is important to reflect on the changes that are necessary for the theatre industry. To play a role in the racial justice movement. The moment is hopeful as people have begun to do a lot of introspection in terms of “How do we change?” . We are showing them that discrimination in theatre is acceptable because that is simply how it has always been.
What kind of world are we creating for the future theatre makers and artists of the world? Thankfully, time and perception are changing. Many brave souls speak out about the horrific atrocities they have faced. However at the hands of their employers, teachers, co-workers and patrons. Some of the works over the last five years against Racism include “An Octoroon” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins . “Under Ground Rainbow Game” by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, “Kill Move Paradise” by James Ijames . “What To Send Up When It Goes Down” by Aleshea Haris, “Ain’t No Mo” by Jordan E. Cooper, etc.
In conclusion Racism is a vice and should be eradicated from everywhere. Theatre is a very popular medium and we should use it as a platform to protest against Racism in theatre.