Slave Play Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango and Jakeem Dante Powell, and Jagged Little Pill performers including and Tony Award nominees Lauren Patten, Celia Rose Gooding, and Kathryn Gallagher, are first to launch “Arts Action Sessions” with Level Forward and a group of non-profit partners. “Arts Action Sessions” incorporate exclusive live capture excerpts from these Tony Award-nominated Broadway shows, pairing the experiences of performers and their characters with insights from issue experts in fields aligned with show themes. Audience participants will share in the stories of these theatrical works, engaging in intimate, interactive discussions about the characters, their conflicts, and choices, and culminating in a creative exercise that puts the cultural learnings to work.
Facing multiple crises across health, economic, and societal divides, “Arts Action Sessions” are designed to give organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion an answer to the question “Where do we go from here?” by creating growth environments that support getting to know what each member of a team, or what a diverse group of individuals, can uniquely bring to problem solving, innovation, and collaboration. Unlike conventional online trainings or continuing education coursework, these live and dynamic sessions use the power of stories to connect emotion and facts to the vulnerability and productivity of collective growth and trust-building exercises.
Slave Play performers Kalukango and Powell have partnered with Carmen Morgan of artEquity to guide portions of their three-day session on “The Black Toolbox of Empowerment” for university students, to be held February 24-26.
Jagged Little Pill sessions will commence in March and will include sessions on LGBTQIA+ identities, advocacy, and allyship, and separately, creating a culture of consent in partnership with organizations including Joyful Heart Foundation.
Said Joaquina Kalukango, “In college, I questioned the meaning of my dual roles as artist and citizen, though it is through my journey with Slave Play when answers have come into view. From the Black Out performances that gave Black people affordable access to a Broadway house where they experienced and processed theater in a safe space, to the Golden Collection that donated plays by Black playwrights to public libraries and community centers in all 50 states, and now with the honest conversations and healing interactions of ‘Arts Action Sessions,’ we can continue to unpack and dismantle racist systems and practices that silence people of color. Working towards healing and equity begins with these difficult conversations.” Added Jakeem Dante Powell, “I’ve always wanted to be the kind of artist who asks really tough questions. In this moment, that question is‘How do we eradicate institutions built to oppress us?’ Working on Slave Play gave me the opportunity to listen to many answers, and now, with the help of Level Forward, I can take this work off the stage and into my community. While the conversation about dismantling systems of oppression is necessary, I am most excited about the organizing and action yet to come.”
About Level Forward
Level Forward is an ecosystem of storytellers, business people, and social change organizers focused on expanding the opportunity and influence of creative excellence in pursuit of equity and economic transformation. Since 2018, the company’s work has received thirty-seven Tony Award-nominations for What The Constitution Means To Me, Oklahoma!, Slave Play, and Jagged Little Pill, and multiple nominations and awards for its feature films including The Assistant, On The Record, Holler, Topside, and Rebel Hearts.
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