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What is it like being artistic director with the Matrix Theatre Company?
Serving as Matrix Theatre Company’s Artistic Director is both exciting and challenging. Matrix’s staff is quite small, so we’ve all become accustomed to working together to get the job done. The work can certainly be stressful at times but seeing the lasting effects of positive change in our community serves as a constant reminder of the importance of our efforts.
How important is diversity in theater casting?
It’s incredibly important. Theatre reflects life. Life is obviously not made up of one color, gender or orientation, and the art needs to reflect that. If it doesn’t, then we as producers aren’t doing our job.
The gay and lesbian theater movement has changed radically since the oppressive days of the 1950s, but could more writers rise to the challenge of contemporary issues?
Of course. The movement has changed and continues to do so but is obviously still very necessary. Given the country’s current administration (and it’s base), I’m not entirely sure that we’re all that far off from those oppressive days. I think today’s issues offer playwrights a unique opportunity to push back at the wave of hate and homophobia. While many writers have jumped at the chance, I hope more of them will continue to do so.
How can theater change attitudes toward LGBTQ people?
I think theater can offer the easiest and most natural shift in attitudes towards LGBTQ people. When you attend a performance, you enter another world. That world will possibly – and hopefully – be full of people that are different from you. Presenting a storyline or character that introduces a new idea, changes an opinion, or sparks a conversation is how we teach empathy, and I think we can all benefit from that. For Matrix, we don’t want the curtain call to be the end of our audience’s experience; we want it to be the beginning. Inciting those important conversations about social justice issues – oftentimes regarding the LGBTQ community – is our goal.
What can audience members look forward to for the upcoming season with the Matrix Theatre Company?
Matrix Theatre is presenting a season of plays that have been written and directed by female-identifying artists. More than half of the plays depict characters from the LGBTQ community. Audiences can look forward to pushing the boundaries of their pre-conceived notions regarding race, gender and their personal definition of activism. Each of the plays selected for the season tackle hard-hitting issues in their own beautiful ways. I hope BTL’s readers will join us.
For more information on upcoming shows, visit matrixtheatre.org.