On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, the San Diego Black Renaissance and The San Diego Voice and Viewpoint hosted a Royal Afternoon Tea at The Westgate Hotel, where Old Globe representatives, led by Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, met with a diverse group of business professionals, artists, educators, and community leaders from San Diego’s Black community in a spirit of mutual interest for advancing diversity and inclusion in the theatrical arts.
This elegant event, which featured a champagne reception, royal afternoon tea service, and a dazzling opera performance by Dr. Candace Bogan, lyric soprano, was the first in a two-part community engagement series dedicated to strengthening the relationship between San Diego’s Black community and The Old Globe. Founded by michael taylor, Board of Directors, The Old Globe, and President, NWB Environmental Services, LLC, the San Diego Black Renaissance is a movement promoting Black cultural and economic empowerment through strategic visibility and access within San Diego’s institutions, businesses, and public spaces. “People of color often feel marginalized by many cultural institutions, including theatre, where there’s been a long history of exclusion and underrepresentation,” notes Mr. taylor, who initiated and co-sponsored this community engagement series. He adds, “The growth and sustainability of these so-called elite institutions rests on diversity and inclusion, and working toward a more inclusive future is a complex and continual process.”
Earlier this year, Mr. taylor collaborated with the Globe in moving this process along by interviewing various Black artists working at the Globe for an ongoing “Theatre Corner” series in The San Diego Voice and Viewpoint, the city’s largest African American newspaper, which also sponsored the event. “The Globe is setting an impressive precedent for community arts engagement and inclusion initiatives both locally and nationwide, and San Diego’s diverse and talented Black community will be an indispensable force in moving these efforts forward,” remarks Mr. taylor.
The San Diego Black Renaissance’s goals of visibility, access, and inclusion speak to the central mission of The Old Globe’s Department of Arts Engagement, which is to “make theatre matter to more people” and to “strengthen the connection between The Old Globe and its neighbors in and around San Diego.” “I truly enjoyed participating in this exciting and elegant event, and I’m grateful to the San Diego Black Renaissance, and in particular to its founder, michael taylor,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “Michael’s vision of building bridges between our city’s Black community and its major cultural institutions aligns exactly with The Old Globe’s expanding arts engagement work, and our central value of making theatre matter to more people makes us look forward to more and more unique afternoons like this one.”
This landmark community engagement series is grounded in the belief that significant cultural and institutional change begins with open-minded, face-to-face conversation and connection. The spirited discussions sparked during this initial relationship-building event will be revisited in early 2017, when participants will reconvene at the Globe for a special discussion on strategies for translating intention into action.
Barry Edelstein (Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director) is a stage director, producer, author, and educator. Widely recognized as one of the leading American authorities on the works of Shakespeare, he has directed nearly half of the Bard’s plays. His Globe directing credits include The Winter’s Tale; Othello; the West Coast premiere of novelist Nathan Englander’s play The Twenty-seventh Man; and the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson’s musical Rain. He also directed All’s Well That Ends Well as the inaugural production of Globe for All, a new producing platform that tours the works of Shakespeare to diverse communities throughout San Diego County. As Director of the Shakespeare Initiative at The Public Theater (2008-2012), Mr. Edelstein oversaw all of the company’s Shakespearean productions, as well as its extensive educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs. At The Public, he staged the world premiere of The Twenty-seventh Man, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens, and Steve Martin’s WASP and Other Plays. He was also Associate Producer of The Public’s Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino. From 1998-2003 he was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company. Mr. Edelstein’s other Shakespearean directorial credits include The Winter’s Tale at Classic Stage Company; As You Like It starring Gwyneth Paltrow; and Richard III starring John Turturro. Additional credits include the Lucille Lortel Award-winning revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; the world premiere of Steve Martin’s The Underpants, which he commissioned; and Molière’s The Misanthrope starring Uma Thurman in her stage debut. Mr. Edelstein has taught Shakespearean acting at The Juilliard School, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and the University of Southern California. His book Thinking Shakespeare is the standard text on American Shakespearean acting. He is also the author of Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions.
About the San Diego Black Renaissance: Founded by michael taylor, Board of Directors, The Old Globe, and President, NWB Environmental Services, LLC, the San Diego Black Renaissance is an emerging movement promoting Black cultural and economic empowerment through strategic visibility and access within San Diego’s institutions, businesses, and public spaces.
About The Old Globe: The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.
About The Old Globe Department of Arts Engagement: The mission of Arts Engagement at The Old Globe is to make theatre matter to more people and to strengthen the connections between our neighbors and our institution. The Globe’s Department of Arts Engagement was created to share with individuals and families a chance to experience theatre, perhaps even for the first time. Our work opens new doors to creativity through theatre-based activities that encourage direct participation in art-making and that engage San Diegans with every level of the institution. The Arts Engagement team strives to make the Globe truly accessible to its neighbors through a combination of new and existing programs that are innovative, participatory, and multigenerational. Arts Engagement creates new bonds of community and deepens existing ones.