Bringing Stories of Diversity, Equity to the Stage
The Westmont Festival Theater launches the first of three staged readings that explore diversity, equity and inclusion Saturday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Porter Theatre. The series of readings, named, NEXUS: Readings from Black Playwrights, will include a post-reading discussion, and is free and open to the public.
Johnny Jones, a writer and professor with more than a decade of experience teaching and working as a playwright and theater director, is Westmont’s first artist/scholar-in-residence for the theater department’s new Initiative for Justice and Global Engagement. Most recently, Jones directed the African American Theater Program at the University of Louisville. At Westmont, he will direct a staged reading series featuring modern to contemporary playwrights and plays that engage justice, reconciliation and diversity. He graduated from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and earned a Master of Arts from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts.
“My first goal and hope is to stage plays that engage the students and community with stories that feel new and that engage the very real issues of our times,” he says. “This is a privilege and a great responsibility. As we continue to live in this current moment of social change and a global pandemic, there is an effort to prioritize the achievements, needs and issues of Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.”
The NEXUS: Readings from Black Playwrights series will continue on November 4 and December 6. Public guests will be required to show proof of vaccine or a recent negative COVID-19 test and wear a mask while indoors on campus.