(This post is part of the blog salon curated by Jacqueline E. Lawton for the 2015 TCG National Conference: Game Change. The following questions will inform the final plenary session, “Artistic Leadership: How We Change the Game.”)
JACQUELINE LAWTON: What was the most game-changing production you’ve seen or created, and why?
Katie Christie: Recently, the most game-changing production I’ve seen is Third Trinity by Teo Castellanos. It incorporated a collection of medium and included culture, language and honesty. Third Trinity was brave and inspiring, and allowed audiences to be set free as the production progressed. The stories were different but the same, stories we are aware of but don’t have the opportunity to learn about them in genuine way. Third Trinity can bring us closer together.
JL: Who was the most game-changing theatre leader/artist you’ve met, and what do you carry forward from their example?
KC: I think that Tarell Alvin McCraney has a very exciting and important voice. His perspectives are unique and important for the world to understand. His work is smart and engaging and comes from people he knows and places he’s been. He is enlightening us. I’m inspired by his honesty and tremendous ability to share difficult stories in moving, powerful and inspiring ways.
JL: What is the most significant opportunity—or challenge—facing the theatre field, and how can we address it together?
KC: I think that the most significant challenge or opportunity rests in the leadership of our theaters. The time has come for many of our leaders to step aside and let a new era emerge. We have an opportunity to move into the future with new leadership, comprised of a collection of talented and innovators and visionaries that truly represent the people of our nation.
JL: What is the most significant challenge—or opportunity—facing the world, and what difference can theatre make?
KC: I think the worlds most significant challenge is distribution of wealth. Theater can make a difference by becoming more accessible and delivering the truth in the form of art.
Katie Christie is a visionary leader with a passion for youth and the arts. She has spent more than 25 years directing and producing musical productions. Katie is the founder and Director of Voices United, which she established to promote cross-cultural understanding through the arts. She has produced original productions in Russia, South Africa Japan, Quebec, Turkey and Lesotho.
She received the Metro Dade Police’s Peace Makers Award in 1989 and was featured in PBS’s “Take Me to Your Leaders” in 1990. In 2001, Voices United was recognized as one of the top 100 organizations addressing race and culture in President Clinton’s “Promising Practices” and was recently featured in “Making a Difference” on NBC’s Nightly News.
Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener fellow. Her plays include Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: Love Brothers Serenade, Mad Breed and Our Man Beverly Snow. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theater, Discovery Theater, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. A 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color, she has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She resides in Washington DC and is a member of Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena. jacquelinelawton.com