What We May Be: Ep. 1 – The Brainstorm

Episode 1 – The Brainstorm

In our first episode, we explore the foundations of education. You’ll be introduced to Seattle Shakespeare’s education programs, as well as what education and racial equity look like for individual artists, educational and theatrical institutions, and our society at large. We are joined by artist and activist Dedra D. Woods (Artists of Color Seattle); Seattle Shakespeare’s Education Director, Michelle Burce; and Manny Cawaling of Inspire Washington. Learn more about the programs mentioned in the episode, ask questions, and get involved at seattleshakespeare.org/education-celebration

Episode 1 – The Brainstorm transcript

Rafael:

Hello, and welcome to what we may be. Race and education. This series is the premiere of Seattle Shakespeare Company’s podcast, Rough Magic. My name is Rafael Molina. I’ll be your host. I’m an artist and activist. I’ve worked throughout Seattle as an actor, composer producer designer, and educator. My interest in creating and developing this series is to platform BiPOC community members, and to have the transparent conversations about social justice, education, theater, and Shakespeare. For those who may not know BiPOC stands for black indigenous and people of color, it is an inclusive term to be used. If you’re talking about people of color in general, compared to the white experience, it is not to be used to perpetuate the notion that black indigenous and people of color are all homogenous. My hope is that through these interviews and examinations of the micro and the macro, you, the listener will leave every episode in this series with your mind a little wider, your heart a little fuller and inspired to dream of more ways to actively decolonize restructure and create accountability. In this episode, we’ll be exploring the foundations of education and what it looks like in a micro to macro examination, starting at the individual then to the organizational all the way up to the institutional and bureaucratic level. Our interview guests on this episode are Manny Cawaling, Michelle Burce and Dedra D woods. Let’s get started.

Rafael:

Hi Dedra.

Rafael:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dedra:

My name’s Dedra D Woods. I am a black woman, and I am an artist. These days people are asking what, who, who are you define yourself? Right now, I’d say I’m an actor storyteller, change agent, educator, creator. Outside of acting and teaching, I started a platform called Artists of Color Seattle or AOC 206, via Instagram. I started it about a year ago and the purpose of the platform is to lift black indigenous people of color voices, our artists voices in Seattle area and beyond through a non-white gaze. So creating content, promoting people’s work in our city, and it has been amazing to be able to give voice to people who really have some things to say.

Rafael:

Thank you. What was the spark that started artists of color Seattle?

Dedra:

Literally I feel like I was driving in my car, which I often am on the way to rehearsal or, you know, back from rehearsal or a show. And I really started to think about who is in charge of covering theater and whose voice are we told to listen to when it comes to what shows to go see what kind of content we should consume. And here in Seattle, it is primarily through white people. And so I wanted to have a place where BiPOC folks could go and say, Hey, I want to see a show, but I want to make sure I’m supporting people in my community and people who look like me. So the idea was to have a place where you can go and you can say, Oh, Hey, Oh, this show is happening. I’m going to go check that out.

Dedra:

And even for people who aren’t BiPOC, there are a lot of people in this town who don’t always want to go to a play and see all white people on stage. So for me, I wanted to create a safe Haven for us to be able to come and celebrate each other and to know what’s going on. And so it literally just was like this idea. And it’s so funny, the first logo that I had, I had a black scarf. And so I took a picture, like a closeup of the scarf. And then I just like had, I took the letters AOCS and it just typed them in and I put it over it. I was like, okay, this is the logo for now. And then I just went with it. And I knew that I was doing something right, because it just felt good to me. I didn’t really care what people would think about it. I felt like people would be open to receiving it and it has surpassed my expectations of what I thought even thus far. And I feel like I’m still in the beginning.

Rafael:

What are you excited about as you watch your company grow?

Dedra:

I’m ex it’s so funny in a way it still feels like this, just a little project that I wanted to do. And when I hear people talk about, or even ask me the types of questions that you are now, it’s almost surreal. But I am excited to really lay roots and have it build, build a legacy of sorts. You know, I always envision AOCS just being the beginning, but it could also be AOC LA, AOC NYC, AOC Detroit. So, you know, I had always had plans to hopefully expand beyond just Seattle, because I feel like the conversations that I’m having with artists in Seattle are happening in other cities as well. And for me, part of it also is, you know, for a long time, if you’re working primarily as an actor, you feel like you don’t have power. Like your job is to come in the room, you do the thing, and then you’re done, you know, a lot of our relationships with theater is, are very transactional.

Dedra:

So you, you know, you create your character and you build this life, but sometimes you can feel stilted by that. So with this, you know, hopefully I feel like artists come and find a safe Haven. What else are you interested in? What else do you want to talk about? You know, I’m asking the questions to people, you know, what type of artists do you see yourself as, not how the industry has labeled you, but what do you want to talk about? And I think that is very freeing and liberating for people, especially right now.

Rafael:

That’s interesting too, that you bring that up because it’s, it feels connected to creating equitable spaces, right. Spaces that you feel listened to, you feel like you aren’t categorized as any single particular thing and that your full self can be acknowledged, right?

Dedra:

Yes. Full self. That is 100% my goal. And it’s helping me to achieve that as well, while I am offering that to others. I really feel myself authentically stepping into, you know, my role as a leader, as a change agent. These are things that I always felt within me, but for some reason, I, I kept myself so small. I watched Lovecraft Country last night. It’s a show on HBO. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. And it literally sat with me and deep in my soul and a black woman just claiming herself and saying I am and who she is, is really important, especially right now. And so I’m stepping into that as well.

Rafael:

How do you think that systemic racism influences education and the educational programs that we create?

Dedra:

I think it’s, you know, directly related systemic racism is the effects of systemic racism is not gonna go away just because people recognize it more widely. You know, inaccess is a big thing. When you think about, you know, the beginnings of the education system here in this country and how it was designed specifically to only educate white men. And then you say land only white men, if you get to a certain level. And so the system was never designed with people of color in mind and, you know, they use the system to hold people back, you know, and you think about this election cycle, you think about the poll tax. You know, most people know about that now, but you know, having to go in order to vote, to pass a test where you have to have a written test and you have to risk, I mean, you have to recite parts of, I can’t remember it was like the constitution or the bill of rights or something that I don’t even know now, but the expectation is that, you know, people of color are inferior.

Dedra:

And that inferiority, I think is definitely the viewpoint of the inferiority is definitely still present today in our education system. I feel like education programs are, I can’t speak specifically towards public schools per se, but just from an outside perspective, they aren’t as equitable as they could be. I mean, you you’ve seen, I mean, going as an artist, going into school programming, first of all, one of the big problems is a lot of theaters…the most people of color that they employ are on the educational tours or in the education program. And that is somewhat problematic for me. I think that it is important for children to see people who look like them and people who don’t look like them, but it also sends a message because a lot of times the education programs are kind of like the afterthought in a way it’s not it’s not the showstopper. So, you know, you’re fine to be in our show for our tour, but maybe not on our main stages, but after a while, I think that we can no longer in this day and age see that and not recognize it as problematic and not everyone does it, but I have witnessed it. And it is an issue that I think theaters as they’re re-imagining what type of organization, they want to be are taking a look at, hopefully.

Rafael:

Absolutely. Thank you, Dedra for your thoughts and your time.

Dedra:

Thank you.

Rafael:

You can stay up to date with Dedra and artists of color Seattle on Instagram at handle AOC206. Up next an interview with Michelle Burce.

Rafael:

Hi, Michelle, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Michelle:

I’m Michelle Burce. I’m the Education Director at Seattle Shakespeare Company, which means that I run all of our Ed programs and that’s our student matinees our in school workshops and performances and our afterschool and summer camps. I’ve been with the company since 2009. And before that I was the education intern at Seattle repertory theater working in learning under the great Andrea Allen. I hold degrees from the University of Washington in theater and community environment planning. And I have my master’s in education from Antioch University, Seattle. I’m very passionate about community-based theater and environmental education and theater education. And I’m also the proud owner of Zefram who is the surliest of the Seattle shakes office dogs.

Rafael:

Thank you. What is educational programming in the context of Seattle Shakespeare?

Speaker 5:

Educational programming in the context of Seattle Shakespeare Company is just any program aimed primarily at students. That can be students of all ages. We work with students K through 12, and then we also have programs all the way up through we have currently have an educational program running at a retirement home. So anywhere where people are looking to learn more about Shakespeare, about theater, that’s where we come in.

Rafael:

Can you speak to the factors and who’s involved in creating and generating the educational programming at Shakes.

Speaker 5:

It’s a combination of factors. As the Education Director, I ultimately guide the formation of all of our educational programming. But the history of the programs also dictate some of it. We’ve been doing these programs for a long time, and we have a bunch of teachers who rely on us to come back year after year and love the programs that we do so we want to serve their needs. So that is that’s part of it. And also we are primarily a producing organization, not an educational organization. So the main stage produces the shows that they want to show to our main audiences. And we sort of do our best to integrate that into our educational programming.

Rafael:

Thank you. In terms of funding, who generally funds the educational department at Seattle Shakespeare, where does that funding come from?

Michelle:

That is a great question. It comes from all over the place, really, depending on the program, the Education Department in general and Seattle Shakes as a nonprofit is funded by individual and institutional givers across the board. That’s just sort of a baseline of our company. So that is a huge part of it. But for the individual programs, you know, it it’s really, I find it very challenging because that means that schools who have to pay for programs that aren’t as supported by grants and programmatic specific grants, they rely on, you know, schools are funded by property taxes, I believe in Washington state and also their PTA’s. And that makes it challenging because it means that schools with a stronger PTA or in a fancier neighborhood have more access to funds than schools that don’t have that. And we try to make that up by giving away some of our programming. We have a “First One’s on Us” program where schools can try us out for free. And we try to give financial aid as much as we can, but again, without specific programmatic grant funding, that does mean that there’s some inequality there in terms of which schools feel that they can access our programs and which feel which schools feel they cannot.

Rafael:

That is frustrating. That’s frustrating to hear. What educational programs currently exist at Seattle Shakespeare Company.

Michelle:

So we have programs in schools where we go to schools and work with students over a long period of time. We produce shows that specifically tour to schools. Every year we send out six actors in a van with two shows that they rehearse you know, in the winter. And we send them out in the spring to perform 90 minute Shakespeare plays fully produced at schools across the state of Washington. This is one of the education programs that I’m most proud of because it is a way to bring Shakespeare to schools that are not near a population center like Seattle, that has a lot of options for, you know, going to see student matinees, going to see professional theater. We take this tour out all across the state of Washington. We visit small towns, will perform in their community center.

Michelle:

They’re high school theater, their gym, their cafeteria, whatever space they have we’ll perform professional Shakespeare for them several years ago. We transitioned from having the tour be considered accessible by going out and visiting these geographically distant communities, as well as we visit schools in Seattle and Spokane and the Tri-Cities and Vancouver. But we also decided that we were going to hire a majority of the artists on tour to be of color because so many of the students across the state of Washington are, you know, our Hispanic students, they are Latinx students. They are students of color in the cities. They are we have a really diverse population in the state of Washington, and we really wanted to reflect that onstage with our artists. And then three years ago, we made the decision to also have one of our shows, be bilingual in Spanish and English, and to have a bunch of the actors, you know, have bilingual Shakespeare text.

Michelle:

And that’s been a really great program to send across the state of Washington, to those students who are bilingual in Spanish and then can see themselves even more on stage. We have an afterschool program known as Short Shakes which is where students perform a they rehearse and perform the same show that is being performed on our main stage. So I think last year, last spring, that was As You Like It. So our students came in and did their own version of As You Like It, using the main stage sets and sort of setting it in the, in a similar world that worked with what was going on in the main stage. And they also get to meet the actors who are their counterparts, the professional counterparts. And finally we have our summer programs. We have a couple of camps that are just a week long to give students a taste of Shakespeare.

Michelle:

And then we have our flagship camp, which is our production intensive, and that is a three-week camp where students design and build as well as rehearse and perform a Shakespeare production in three weeks. This is the program that students come back to again and again to, you know, make friends and have their own artistic vision realized on the stage. They do have a huge hand in designing it. And then also we have them paint the sets. And I taught a couple of students of our high school students to use power tools last year to say, like, let’s, let’s build this set together. Let’s learn some new skills and put that together.

Rafael:

Cool. Thank you. In terms of racism and anti-racism, how often is that something that is actively factored in when creating material for students?

Michelle:

I would say it depends on the program. I feel like the, the statewide tour is the place where we have had the most conversations and had the most honestly freedom to be able to address that and to think about ways to make our process more equitable ways to hire more artists of color and say, we want you to tell your story and we want you to have your vision on the stage. Particularly with our you know, we always, we always tour Romeo and Juliet because that is, you know, the demand from the schools really helps us to pay for the second show, whatever that may be. And so that second show is really where we have the flexibility to say, what is the story that you want to tell, where do we want to set this so that it, you know, it brings a new story you know, connected to Shakespeare to light, and it brings it to the students. So that, I think that’s a place where we do have that freedom and that flexibility and some of our other programs we try to bring an anti-racist lens in when possible, but we’re also under the constraints of, I’ve got 50 minutes to introduce 35 students to Romeo and Juliet. How much can we do? The schools expect a certain amount of, of curriculum and, you know, I am big pentameter and discussion of Capulets and Montague’s, and that’s what we do.

Rafael:

How do you think systemic racism influences educational programming at Seattle shakes?

Michelle:

It’s interesting because I feel like because we’ve been, we’re in a, we’re in a white supremacist society Shakespeare being a white author is considered one of the greatest playwrights of all time. And in the whole world, even though he’s from Western Europe, he’s a white author. But having that connection to, to, you know, Shakespeare, I think for our company unlocks some opportunities in schools where people say Shakespeare, like he’s safe, he’s classic, he’s embedded in our, in our white culture. And so we have an opportunity to bring a Shakespeare show into a school or bring curriculum into a school. And if we use that opportunity to say, we’re going to create this beautiful bilingual Hamlet that is sets in you know, in Los Angeles and features and all POC cast that is an opportunity for us to like use the Shakespeare, to tell a slightly different story. And we do that when possible. But in a lot of cases, we’re still working on figuring out what are ways that, that is possible. Like, we’re, we’re not perfect. We’re not doing as good of a job as we could be doing. But we’re, you know, we’re, we’re doing our best.

Rafael:

Thank you, Michelle, for your insights and your time.

Michelle:

Absolutely.

Rafael:

Up next an interview with Manny Cawaling.

Rafael:

Manny. Tell us about yourself.

Manny:

Hi, I’m Manny Cawaling. I’m the Executive Director for Inspire Washington. We are our state’s primary cultural advocacy organization promoting and advocating for the important work

Manny:

Within science heritage and the arts throughout the entire state. But, you know, how do I identify myself? I’m Filipino American. I grew up here in Seattle, born and raised Washingtonian. I’m a theater artist, a teaching artist, and a performer.

Rafael:

Thank you.

Rafael:

What is educational programming in the context of some of the various organizations that you’ve worked for.

Manny:

You know, I’ve really had the opportunity to work. Almost exclusively for much of my career for BiPOC organizations such as the Northwest Asian American theater which is no longer in business today, but at the time I believe it was the second Asian Pacific American theater in the country. As well as the Wing, you know, our Pan Asian American Pacific museum here in Seattle and also Langston Hughes, Performing Arts Institute or the Performing Arts Center when I was the managing director in all of those organizations education was really at the core of its mission. You know w when you are working with a community that is marginalized and let’s get really deep into what does that mean? And what that usually means is that they’re important stories have not been told or shared with the broader community, and also sometimes within the community.

Manny:

There’s a lot of education that you just do within your own community about things that are not spoken about in American history or not framed in the right way. So therefore education becomes really important also within the Black community with the Asian Pacific American community, our advancements come through activism, and activism is most powerful when it’s informed, right? Where have we been? And where really good activism happens is when you just stop at where we’ve been and where we are today. And you really let the young people decide where do you want to go next? So I think that in all of these organizations, education has been at the core of the work because it is, it may sound corny, but it’s the pathway to the future. It’s your young minds. And it’s also you, it’s where you start in saying, you are living in a world where your resources are not equitable, and they’re not personal. They’re not specific to you. You are learning about American history, but they’re not talking about your family.

Rafael:

Absolutely. What does educational programming mean at Inspire Washington?

Manny:

Well, we play a really, you play a very unique role in the world of educational programming. So, I mean, we’re Inspire Washington as an advocacy organization, so we just firmly believe in the value and the impact of programs that inspire curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. So that’s science, heritage and the arts we advocate for the work, right? But now advocacy is a tricky slope because on one side you know, you just want it to happen, but also, you know, you do have to kind of play a role in, in, in advocating for how it happens. For example, where does it happen? Is it equitable, right? What is the quality of it? And now at the same time, we’re not the program providers and, you know, Washington state is really big. And so therefore we can’t be actually like on the ground and within every school district, right. Or within every city and town, because there’s close to 300. But one thing that I’ve gotten a real appreciation for is so much of the work is driven by public policy. Right. And advocacy is normally at the grass tops of, Oh, you know, where are the resources being distributed? Who’s making the rules for it. Right. So that’s where our work is.

Rafael:

Thank you. What are your thoughts? And in your experience, who has the agency in terms of generating and creating educational programming within organizations?

Manny:

We always talk about like the direction or focus of an, of an organization, right. But the reality is an organization is a collective of people, right. And organizations will have missions and they will have objectives and they will have goals. And then therefore they fundraise and they budget around that. But it really is… I mean, nothing’s going to happen in an organization unless somebody steps up on that staff and says, I think we should be doing this. You know at Northwest Asian-American theater, we were very focused when I started on staff there on promoting Asian American playwrights and promoting Asian Pacific American talent and doing a season of shows. Right. but when I stepped into this new role as associate artistic director, a mix of what I wanted to do, and the mix of what was standard practice at the time is that associate artistic directors normally ran the education department. So I had the opportunity to decide what does education look like? And there were still choices there. It could have been, it could have really been focused on adult artists. Right. But I was like, I think we need to start educating you, you know? And we really need to do partnerships and with community-based organizations that serve young people, and it should be focused on skill development, right. It’s not just art for art’s sake. It really is. It’s beyond that.

Rafael:

Mm, absolutely. I want to talk about the money. In your experience with the various organizations and companies you’ve worked for who generally funds educational departments in the arts.

Manny:

Broadly, I would say. And it’s hard. It’s a little bit hard for me to even say this because now I deal with having a say on the Federal level, when I see a lot of money that’s being advocated, but I would say most likely the money that’s funding, some programs such as Act’s fantastic playwriting program or you know, anything that Seattle Shakespeare is doing. It’s personal philanthropy, it’s individual donors, it’s foundations.

Rafael:

Thank you. What are your thoughts on systemic racism and how it affects present day education and programming?

Manny:

You know, a lot of times we wash away race when we have discussions about difficult times in American history, right. We talk about decisions. We talk about the politics, but let’s talk about race. How did race come into that play? Right. And then also there’s kind of, I’m, I’m sorry, I’m a theater person. I’m always looking at the big narrative. Right. And when you look at the big narrative, it’s hard. It’s kind of hard to say, I know that we may have covered all these chapters and talked about the politics at play or the political realities or the mode of Congress. But let’s talk about the fact that in all of these narratives, it is the people of color that get, you know, whose lives aren’t valued. Right. So how do you ignore that? How can that not be racism? I think also in education, I, you know, I think it really comes down to some of the most fundamental, most obvious questions that it’s shocking.

Manny:

That’s never been asked, which is one, what is being taught right? Two who is teaching it, right.? Three, who’s in the classroom? And what relevant issues and topics are you not teaching? Right? I was a high school student. I read that. I read that small, short, very short chapter, about Japanese American internment. Right. but I didn’t walk away understanding what really happened. Right. And, it took me, being 18 years old, auditioning for my first show at the Northwest Asian American theater and getting cast in a musical, set within an internment camp. the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho for me to go, “What?!” I mean, just, you know, the moments during that rehearsal, I was the youngest person in the cast and the moments during the rehearsal where the director would have to say yes, Manual, this happened like it was a prison.

Manny:

Right. and but there it is. So, I mean, I, and I think that’s a really great example of what I said. So there I was, what is being taught? We’re doing a show about Japanese American internment. We’re sharing this story, who’s teaching it. The director is a Japanese American. She was born in an internment camp. And what is the frame with is within it being taught? This story is definitely social justice, you know, but schools don’t operate necessarily within the frame of we’re going to educate people for the purpose of social justice. You know, I mean, it just kind of like, I mean, here’s the thing it’s like, I feel, you know, essential learning requirements, the EELRs is what is required to be taught well, who decided that. Right. And, and was that developed with an equitable lens? Was that developed with a lens of really thinking about how will this serve, you know, the diverse kids in this classroom, for example, like if, you know, the, the, a lot of these things are so based, so broad, it’s just supposed to speak to everyone, but it’s like, but what does it mean to Yakima kids?

Manny:

Right. 55% of those kids are Latinx, right. What is it saying to them? How is this relevant to them? Are you talking about their experience or can they connect this right. That’s where I feel like you know, education is so big and broad. It’s not necessarily very personalized. And I think that, you know, how do we bring more equitable learning is, is one, we start at the, we start with, how are educators being taught? What is the framework within their, within the realm of what they can teach? And, and how can that be a little bit modified based off of who’s in the classroom. And, and I know that there’s, you know, some, some schools will always say, well, I mean, there’s some give, I mean, a teacher can really look at the class and teach that, but it’s like, but yeah, but you’re also dictating, I mean, teachers, are in a race for their lives, from the start of the school year, to the end. They’ve got all of these benchmarks and things that they got to do and they got to teach.

Manny:

And school term is, you know, is, is, is really limiting. And then you’ve got a constant amount of challenges and issues that take up time and resources such as you know. So, I mean, where is the give for that? But, you know, it’s a great movie scene with a D where the teacher goes, everyone pick up your book, let’s put it down. I’m going to teach you about something else today. Right? No, I don’t really think that it happens. It’s a great scene in a movie. Right. But in reality, I don’t know that that really the teacher, God bless him for doing all the things that they do has really that bandwidth.

Rafael:

Yeah. No, I, I agree with you 100%. So, so what are your thoughts on, on dealing with these issues on a systemic level

Manny:

To really fix it systemically… I, where does that conversation start? Right. Who is having it right. But in the meantime, and it goes back to what I said before, he kind of got your short-term objectives, you’ve got your long-term ones, but in the meantime, what we need, what all of our school districts, all across Washington state need is they need organizations like Seattle, Shakespeare Company enhancing the education, broadening it, right. They need organizations, cultural organizations who have the ability to be much more nimble to have the ability to can transform themselves based off of the conversation that’s happening in our modern day life. Right. And not playing by a 1950s playbook. That is what we can do right now.

Rafael:

What are your long-term, you know, you were saying you got your short-term and your long-term objectives. What are your, what are your long-term goals?

Manny:

So I do believe in the power of voting, you know, let’s, who’s making the decisions very, very, very important. And it’s not just, it’s not just about, I mean voting to have diversity of leadership is also plays out in the critical areas of staffing. Right. I mean, it’s not just, I mean, I’ve really learned to, I mean, I’ve, I’ve interacted with all of our congressional delegation. It’s not just the lawmaker, it’s their staff. Right. I mean, look at the, the, the administration right now. There’s not a lot of diversity in that administration, so it’s not just the person you elect, it’s their values. What kind of team are they going to assemble to represent their district, their cities and their communities.

Rafael:

Thank you, Manny for your insights and your time.

Manny:

I appreciate it. And thank you so much for asking me

Rafael:

That’s all for today. This series is a fundraiser for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Educational Department. If you enjoyed this content and would like to learn more about Seattle Shakespeare’s educational programs, or you’re able to support us with a donation, please visit Seattle shakespeare.org/education-celebration. We’ll be back next week with another episode. So subscribe wherever you get this podcast from.

Join our conversation with the following speakers

Michelle Burce, Education Director at Seattle Shakespeare Company
Manny Cawaling, Inspire Washington
Dedra D. Woods, Artist and Activist

See other episodes

Episode 0 – Series Trailer

Intro to the series by Rafael Molina, our host

Episode 1 – The Brainstorm

Featuring Dedra D. Woods, Michelle Burce, Manny Cawaling

In our first episode, we explore the foundations of education. You’ll be introduced to Seattle Shakespeare’s education programs, as well as what education and racial equity look like for individual artists, educational and theatrical institutions, and our society at large. We are joined by artist and activist Dedra D. Woods (Artists of Color Seattle); Seattle Shakespeare’s Education Director, Michelle Burce; and Manny Cawaling of Inspire Washington. Learn more, ask questions, and get involved at seattleshakespeare.org/education-celebration

Episode 2 – Past and Present, Part 1

Featuring Desdemona Chiang, QuiQui Dominguez and Caitlin Honig

 This week, Rafael explores education in schools and classrooms, from stories about being an immigrant struggling to understand playground games to the importance of rebellious teachers and the power of showing students that Shakespeare can be for them (and the struggle when it feels like it isn’t). Our guests are director Desdemona Chiang, multihyphenate artist QuiQui Dominguez, and high school teacher Caitlin Honig. Learn more, ask questions, and get involved at seattleshakespeare.org/education-celebration

Episode 3 – Past and Present, Part 2

 What’s the difference between diversity and equity? How is education changing? What kinds of people are our education programs trying to create? Rafael delves into these questions and more, while exploring after school and camp programs at Seattle Shakespeare. Our guests this week are director and educator Valerie Curtis-Newton, teaching artist Anastasia Higham, actor Sunam Ellis, and former Seattle Shakespeare student Violet Keteyian. Learn more, ask questions, and get involved at seattleshakespeare.org/education-celebration

Episode 4 – The Future

In our final episode, Rafael explores what the future of educational theatre, Seattle, and the arts community at large might and could look like. Learn about artists who are pushing us forward with new interpretations, new work, new people in the room. Dive deep into the Shakespeare Equity Engagement program with Lamar Legend, learn more about upstart crow collective with Rosa Joshi, and hear about what BIPOC and predominantly white institutions should do next (and so much more) with Sara Porkalob.

We hope you will be inspired by each episode to actively decolonize, restructure, and create accountability in theatrical education, and then you’ll come back here for a virtual exploration of the camps and classestalkbacks and toursstudy guides and student stories you heard about on the podcast.