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Theatre Memphis Online Discussion Group Centers on Diversity

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Theatre Memphis Online Discussion Group Centers on Diversity

Read to Relate: A Theatre Memphis Interactive Play Discussion Group is an online reading and discussion group that will read works by American Playwrights of color and/or who are differently abled.

With the intent to include one or more of the discussed plays into future seasons at Theatre Memphis, the objective of this virtual experience is to broaden awareness of plays written by and about the BIPOC and/or differently abled communities (BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Discussions about the scripts will be moderated by local Black theatre artists. The moderator will guide the participants through two virtual discussions about the literary and social context found in the text and production qualities of the play.

Claire Rutkauskas, Program Director for Outreach and Education for Theatre Memphis says, 'Through this program we hope to engage in meaningful and challenging discussion about the canon of published theatrical work by Black playwrights that is available to produce. When developing this program, it was important to center the voice of the local Black theatre community, and we are incredibly grateful to our inaugural line up of guest moderators. Theatre Memphis is a community theatre in an incredibly diverse and talented city, and we are excited to dive into scripts that could help us better reflect that diversity in our seasons.'

Every other month Theatre Memphis will offer a new script selection for discussion. Each play is assigned a four week period during which participants will read the play on their own and then attend two virtual sessions to discuss the play, similar to a book club. Registered participants will receive a copy of the script and a link to the scheduled discussions. There is a $15 fee to register and one can register online at The fee covers the cost of the script and the two moderated discussions. The scripts will be available for pick up at Theatre Memphis. If fees are an issue for an interested participant or if you have additional questions, please contact the program manager, Claire Rutkauskas, for more information at

The first selected script for engagement is Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall. Saturday Night/Sunday Morning is set in the final days of the Second World War at Miss Mary's Press and Curl beauty parlor and women's boarding house in Memphis, Tennessee. Ms. Hall is a native Memphian and internationally known playwright, screenplay writer, journalist and producer and is celebrated for her Olivier Award-winning play, The Mountain Top, and her Antonyo Award-winning new Broadway musical, Tina -The Tina Turner Musical. Additional plays for future discussion will be announced at a later date.

The two virtual discussions for Saturday Night/Sunday Morning will be moderated by Leslie Reddick. Reddick is a native Memphian who directs and performs in the Memphis area and has been teaching Performing Arts at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School for over 25 years. She is a graduate of Rhodes College with a Master's Degree in Theater from the University of Memphis.

The schedule for Saturday Night/Sunday Morning is:

· Participant registration deadline: October 2nd

· Participants pick up their copy of script no later than: October 9th.

· First virtual discussion: October 13th, 7pm

· Second virtual discussion: October 27th, 7pm

· Once registered a link will be sent via email for the video platform for the discussion.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a title for discussion can do that with a $100 donation to the program. Your name or company will be listed as the sponsor of the title in all promotions of the title. Just contact Claire Rutkauskas at

Future guest moderators for the inaugural year of this program are Tony Horne, Thomas "TeKay" King, Mary Ann Washington, Bria Brown and Kierra Turner.

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