The Spokane Theater Arts Council uses livestreams to continue its mission of inclusivity

click to enlarge STAC speaks with Mathias Oliver (top left) and Vanessa Cole (bottom left) during a live stream panel discussion on Aug. 28.
STAC speaks with Mathias Oliver (top left) and Vanessa Cole (bottom left) during a live stream panel discussion on Aug. 28.

While venues are turning pandemic limitations into an opportunity to take stock of everything from props to programming, the Spokane Theater Arts Council (STAC) has been continuing to foster a broader conversation about inclusivity — particularly as it relates to actors of color and other historically underrepresented communities.

On Aug. 28, STAC hosted a livestream panel discussion titled Seeing Ourselves Onstage. It featured Vanessa Cole, Mathias Oliver and Kiara White, who shared their personal experiences within the local theater community as young artists of color.

"Seeing Ourselves Onstage is a virtual series that we're presenting through STAC in partnership with Spokane Arts and a few other partners," says STAC co-founder, community engagement coordinator and event moderator Rio Alberto. The aim is to bring "the dialogue about equitable representation onstage, backstage and in arts admin positions ... to the forefront of the performing arts community here in Spokane."

The second part of the series will stream on Friday, Sept. 25. Professional artists Wardell Clark, Nike Imoru, Leslie Ishii and DeLanna Studi are scheduled to take part and speak to their involvement with initiatives like Native Voices at the Autry Museum of the American West and We See You, White American Theater.

"We're bringing these folks who have had success in their field to our community and we're going to have a dialogue that allows them to share with us what it looks like to operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion in arts organizations," Alberto says.

"What does it look like to actually do the work? It's not cute, it's not comfy, but it's necessary."

For details on the Seeing Ourselves Onstage series and to RSVP to the virtual event, visit the Spokane Theater Arts Council's Facebook Events page at facebook.com/spokanetheater.

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About The Author

E.J. Iannelli

E.J. Iannelli is a Spokane-based freelance writer, translator, and editor whose byline occasionally appears here in The Inlander. One of his many shortcomings is his inability to think up pithy, off-the-cuff self-descriptions.