Samuel French, Playbill & HowlRound partner to present #IdentityWeek

9/22/2016 2:16pm

Samuel FrenchPlaybill and HowlRound are partnering to present #IdentityWeek, a four-day panel event, Sept 27 - 30, exploring racial, cultural, sexual, and gender identity in the theatre.  This year's event was created in response to the issues of identity, inclusion, and representation onstage being at the forefront of our industry's collective conversation. Through these panels, Samuel French, Playbill and HowlRound hope to provide a safe, respectful space where artists, activists, and members of the industry can come together for discussion, debate and more. This marks Samuel French's third year of partnering with HowlRound for panel events, and the first collaboration with Playbill. All panels will be held at the Vineyard (108 E 15th St). They are open to the general public and will be live-tweeted by Samuel French, as well as live-streamed by HowlRound. A companion series of essays can be found on HowlRound throughout the week as well. Reservations are encouraged, but not required. #IdentityWeek panel discussions will also be live-streamed on the web; visit for more details and to tune in.

To date, the following #IdentityWeek panel discussions and participants include:

Playwrights & Their Identity
Tuesday, September 27 from 6:30-7:30 PM
Should a playwright write for their identity? Are playwrights sought out by specific theaters because of their ethnicity or cultural background? Partly inspired by Damon Chua's article, Asian Playwrights and Asian Characters: What's the Deal?, this panel will focus on the impact and influence of a playwright's perceived identity on their writing and within our theatre community. Panelists include playwrights Damon ChauaLydia R. DiamondA. Rey Pamatmat and Kimber Lee. Moderator: Pippin Parker, Director of The School of Drama, The New School.

Onstage & Off: The State of Transgender Artists
Wednesday, September 28 from 6:30-7:30 PM
This panel narrows in on the experience of transgender artists, discussing their opportunities and challenges within the theatre industry as well as how our community can better include and support their work. Panelists include playwright Azure D. Osborne-Lee and performers Donnie CianciottoBianca Leigh, Pooya Mohseni and MJ Rodriguez. Moderated by Adam Hetrick (Editor in Chief,

Access & Activism in Theatre
Thursday, September 29 from 6:30-7:30 PM
This conversation will focus on the progress and challenges in the theatre community around access and inclusion for artists, administrators and audience members. Topics may include advances in onstage representation of characters and performers of all abilities, the politics of casting an actor to play a character with a disability if that actor doesn't have the same disability, and more. Panelists include Phil Dallmann (Manager of TDF Accessibility Programs), Laura Kirk (Director of Audience Services for Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre), Christine Bruno (Disability Advocate for Inclusion in the Arts) and Alexandria Wailes (representing Deaf West). Moderated by Diep Tran (Associate Editor, American Theatre Magazine). 

A Celebration of Pioneering Artists
Friday, September 30 from 6:30-7:30pm
This evening will serve as a retrospective and celebration of the work that our industry has already accomplished. Artists who have achieved ground-breaking work in theatre will join together to discuss their journeys, challenges, victories, and advice for aspiring artists in their field. Panelists include Anne Bogart(Co-Artistic Director, SITI Company), Larry Kramer (playwright, The Normal Heart), Dr. Ntozake Shange(playwright, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf) and Joi Gresham (Executive Director of the Lorraine Hansberry Estate). Moderator: Christian Parker, Chair, Head of Dramaturgy Concentartion,  Columbia University School of the Arts

Press contact: Brett Oberman/Keith Sherman & Associates (212/764-7900)...