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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Making Theatre for Everybody: How Do We Create Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Theatre Through Student-Run Theater Organizations?

  • Author(s): Pearson, Ryan Danielle
  • Advisor(s): Casel, Gerald
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

In my thesis, I examined what it looks like to create racial and ethnic diversity in theatre, specifically through The Barnstorm Theater, a student-run theatre at University of California- Santa Cruz.

I compared my personal theatre history as a youth to my experiences in theatre in higher education, as well as the experiences of other theatre students of color. I also explored the tedious task of producing theatre where people of color are the focal point on a campus where the theatre department is predominantly white.

My research was through quantitative analysis using surveys to gauge audience demographics and their perspectives on the importance of diversity in theatre. My goal is to shed light on the lack of diversity currently, demonstrate how to produce more diverse and inclusive plays, and lay a foundation for student-run theatre that gives voice to more stories of people of color for seasons to come.

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