Pasadena Playhouse Hosts DIVERSITY: THROUGH THE DIRECTOR'S EYE Forum Today

Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation, The Pasadena Playhouse, and East West Players will present a forum to explore the current state of diversity in Southern California theatre focusing on the director's role and the questions:

What's working?
What aren't we doing?
How can we work together to increase diversity in Southern California theatre?

DIVERSITY: THROUGH THE DIRECTOR'S EYE is set for tonight, Monday, December 16, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA.

Panelists will include artistic directors Tim Dang (East West Players), Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse), Jessica Kubzansky (Theatre at Boston Court), Marc Masterson (South Coast Repertory), Michael Ritchie (Center Theatre Group), and Seema Sueko (Pasadena Playhouse and Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company). The panel will be moderated by Michael John Garcés (Cornerstone Theatre Company).

The theatre industry has grappled with diversity with varying degrees of success. Two productions in 2012, TheNightingale and The Orphan of Zhao, both set in ancient China but cast primarily with Caucasian actors, prompted leaders from Southern California theatres to discuss diversity at a forum at East West Players in October, 2012. Tim Dang, Artistic Director of East West Players, states, "We want to continue the dialogue, but to pivot to the issue of how all theaters can provide more opportunities for the broad spectrum of artists including people of color, women, and persons with disabilities and the inclusion of a diverse audience that is America."

The forum will be held at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, California. Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse, notes, "As a theater which places diversity as a central priority, The Pasadena Playhouse is happy to be hosting this important discussion in collaboration with East/West players and SDC. At The Playhouse, we've explored diversity with casting and selection of plays, and since 2005 had a formal diversity outreach program with the larger community. I am eager to now be examining this complex issue in a public way through the lens of valuable freelance directors and fellow artistic directors as part of our ongoing diversity initiative."

Laura Penn, Executive Director of SDCF, remarks, "SDCF has been expanding the national reach of our programs, and we are very much looking forward to serving West Coast SDC Members and the greater theatre community. Clearly, there are directors and choreographers in Southern California who are making great advancement in the area of diversity. By exploring how progress is being made in the Southern California theatre community, we hope to deepen our understanding of the issue and discover effective ways to encourage diversity. I hope those in the community - board members, Managing Directors, as well as artists and artistic staff - with an interest in furthering diversity will attend. "

This panel is free and open to the public.To attend, please RSVP to

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers.

Built on a tradition of innovation and excellence, The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. Since 2005, The Playhouse's Wells Fargo Theatrical Diversity Project has funded productions featuring a diverse array of artists, actors, and playwrights; empowered and enriched young people of diverse ethnicities from disenfranchised communities through free student performances and arts education programs; and cultivated writers, actors, directors and designers of all backgrounds through new play development, mainstage productions and outreach programs. The Playhouse is currently performing the classic "Twelve Angry Men" with a cast of six white and six African American actors.

As the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic works and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific experiences.

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