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Embracing Arlington Arts produces a Theater/Arts Management Education podcast series that features special topics of interest that we delve into in much greater detail. The goal is to create a better understand about the performing arts among patrons, students and other interested parties.

Emmett Till Trilogy and Racial Justice – Theaters Keeping the Conversation Going

This Theater/Arts Management Education series focuses not only on the exciting premiere of a rotating repertory production of the Emmett Till Trilogy of plays (“The Ballad of Emmett Till,” “That Summer in Sumner,” and “Benevolence”) being presented by Mosaic Theater Company, but also to embellish and continue the conversation about racial justice in our nation today and how the theater industry is and should be spurring those discussions. Interviews were conducted with four partners who are making this series of plays possible. We will hear their insight and views on the continued impact of this critical event in our country’s history.

Talvin Wilks, Director talks about how important this series of plays is to understand the significant impact of the Emmett Till murder in our nation’s history. He also expounds on the importance of the media in bringing visibility to the injustices of racism, but questions “why does it take an image to gain people’s attention?” Also hear his hopes about what audiences will say about the production series and how the theater industry helps spur and continue these critical discussions.

Ifa Bayeza, Playwright wrote this series of plays to “celebrate the joy and majesty of this family.” She summarizes each of the three plays, what she wanted to focus on for each and tells us about some interesting factoids she found out about Emmett during her research. Ms. Bayeza also discusses her hopes for how audiences will respond after seeing the shows. “I challenge our contemporary audiences to think about what we are going to do. If the Till saga was the spark of the Civil Rights movement, I hope to stimulate sparks in audience members,” she concludes in this interview.

Antonio Michael Woodard, Actor (“Emmett Till”) considers portraying Emmett Till in the upcoming Till Trilogy of play series an honor and a responsibility to humanize this young man. He also firmly believes that theater is always been a catalyst for change and spurring conversations about important social issues in our nation. According to Antonio, these plays mirror exactly where we are today and the fact that people must remember this story so it cannot be repeated. His final thoughts: “You can’t get where you’re going until you look back.” Very insightful and thought-provoking conversation with Antonio that we are glad to offer listeners.

Reginald Douglas, Artistic Director is honored and thrilled to be presenting this trilogy of plays during his first season as Artistic Director at Mosaic Theater Company. He expresses his strong belief that the theater industry plays a big role in spurring audience members to become active and energized about combating racial injustice. “I do think that art is action. It sparks dialogue about our community, makes people think and to take action.” He stresses also that this series of plays centers on love and empathy and allows audience members to learn and feel the humanity behind the Till family. Reginald concludes with his hopes for what the Till family members will think and say after seeing the shows.

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