DON AUCOIN, THE BOSTON GLOBE, AUG. 22, 2015, “DIVERSE CASTING”
“One of the things art can do is shape the collective consciousness… By offering a more expansive vision that showcases people of color — who often have not seen themselves reflected onstage or in history books — these productions amount to not just a reimagining or a retelling but a move toward reclaiming the national story.
“Diversity in casting means more opportunities for performers of color, and more potentially meaningful experiences for audiences.
“Diverse productions illustrate a larger truth: Namely, that dramas like “Death of a Salesman,’’ “King Lear,’’ and “The Glass Menagerie’’ belong to, and are a reflection of, all of us, of who we are in our best and worst moments. Having performers of color portray characters originally written as (or assumed to be) white helps to underscore the universality of the plays.”
DRT history and vision
DRT was founded in August 2010 as Durham Family Theatre, establishing an intentionally multi-racial, multi-ethnic and intergenerational theatre in the "little theatre" tradition, in Durham, North Carolina.
DRT takes an active role in the authentically racially inclusive movement in theatre arts in the United States. In August 2011, the DRT board adopted the following foundational policy statement:
"It shall be the policy of DRT that, unless a production specifically requires a single race cast, casting of all DRT plays must be significantly representative of Durham, NC’s diverse community. Therefore, except as noted above, all DRT casts will be multi-racial. Should auditions fail to attract a multi-racial cast, the production will be cancelled or delayed until outreach to people of color results in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic show.” August 2011
We urge all community and professional theatres to adopt non-discriminatory casting policies, casting actors across lines of race in all productions unless the show specially addresses issues that require racially defined casting.
By the winter of 2015 all our programs were bursting at the seams. The successes in fulfilling our mission over the first four years, convinced the Durham Family Theatre board of directors it was time to change our name to better communicate our visions for the future. The change was made official in March 2015.
(Go to the Support DRT/Donate page to view a video of DRT 2010-2015. Read an Entertainment Brief on our name change from the Herald Sun, 3/12/15)
Durham Regional Theatre is inspired by the tradition of the "little theatre" movement in the United States, which expressed theatre's ability to go where "Broadway" style, or commercial, theatre could not go to bring social themes and new voices to new audiences around the country. DRT is committed to professional, individual and community growth in an intentionally multi-racial, multi-ethnic and intergenerational environment.
DRT produces original theatre, traditional theatre and award-winning literature, encouraging the artistic goals of our staff (volunteer & paid,) actors, students, audiences and community partners. Of the seven plays produced by DRT in our first four years, three were original scripts (two of those were musicals.) DRT advocates the pursuit and practice of authentic creative expression and effective storytelling.
In keeping with our intergenerational mission, DRT is both an expanding company of experienced theatre artists and an arts-education hub, committed to the growth of regional theatre artists from elementary school through adults. Our active scholarship program guarantees under-resourced communities the opportunity to participate in the performing arts.
Our home city of Durham, North Carolina vibrantly supports our mission with the strength of its diversity. As at DRT, in Durham people from various backgrounds are able to access one another's experiences and create positive things together.
At DRT we are dedicated to offering transformative and engaging theatre to all our audiences. Through Main Stage shows, concerts and educational programs, DRT intends to serve as a springboard for community members to lead creative lives, develop meaningful relationships and pursue careers in the arts.