The Justice Theater Project – Societal Impact Through the Performing Arts

From “A Soldier’s Play,” a murder mystery set in a 1944 desegregated army base in Louisiana. (Photo Courtesy of The Justice Theater Project)

Recently I have been introduced to a special gem here in the Raleigh – Triangle NC area – The Justice Theater Project (JTP.) Their tagline is “Celebrating thought-provoking, entertaining and inspiring theater since 2004.” The JTP has produced quality entertainment that addresses a wide range of issues of social concern as well as giving area non-profit groups free admission to shows and providing several youth summer summer theater camps with tuition assistance so all can participate!

As a diversity consultant, I feel the performing arts can be a powerful medium to address issues such a racism, homophobia, aging, economic inequality and more. Sometimes people need to be transported outside themselves and their daily lives to see something on stage or hear something in music that can communicate to them much better than a written editorial or a political debate.

Captain Charles Taylor was quite displeased when African-American Captain Richard Davenport was sent to Louisiana to investigate the murder of a black officer. (Photo courtesy of The Justice Theater Project)

Recently, I published the blog reviewing the book “Divided We Stand – Racism in America from Jamestown to Trump,” which chronicles the many forms of racism present within the USA from our founding days up to current times. I got plenty of comments debating if racism truly exists today in the US and asking me about racism against whites, as well as calling me a few names and using cuss words. Perhaps if some of these detractors saw JTP’s latest play “ A Soldier’s Play,” a murder mystery set in a 1944 desegregated army base, they may think differently about racism, internalized oppression and white privilege.

Blogs I published earlier this year about diversity and inclusion being promoted through the performing arts include:
“Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Through Bluegrass Music,” about an innovative annual concert called “Shout and Shine” of diverse Bluegrass musicians. This celebration came about in 2016 as a direct response to North Carolina’s oppressive HB2 “bathroom bill” discriminating against our LGBT citizens.
“A great diversity experience – Theater Breaking Through Barriers” about enjoying an off-Broadway play in New York City which featured actors with a wide range of disabilities.

The JTP’s current 2017 – 2018 season is titled “Equity and Identity” and will address issues such as racism, homophobia and classism. Though my diversity consulting practices covers all areas of diversity, my deep area of expertise is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), so I am looking forward to their February play “Bent” which is set in 1940’s occupied Berlin and confronts the persecution of the marginalized, particularly homosexuals.

Please seriously considering supporting the work this wonderful organization does in our community through sponsorship or becoming a season subscriber – details on the JTP website.

And if you are one of my blog readers from outside the area, perhaps see if there is a similar theater company in your community, or perhaps consider starting one!