The School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and the African Continuum Theatre Company will host its second annual Black Theatre Symposium Saturday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Professors, students and professionals will participate in workshops and panels throughout the day.

Local professionals from the DMV area, as well as professionals from New York and other parts of the East Coast, will have tables available for students, said theatre performance professor Scot Reese.

Students are encouraged to bring their resumes and will be given the opportunity to ask questions about internships and what to do after graduating.

Sisi Reid, a senior theatre major, volunteered at last year’s event and said she is excited to see who will return this year.

“I’m looking to see what new information we’re going to learn,” Reid said. “I like seeing and hearing what our role as artists is in society – be it through playwriting, production or performance.”

The event is important because it brings a lot of people to The Clarice, which seems isolated due to its location in conjunction with the campus, Reid said.

“The symposium is a great way to build a community from students who want to get out there and from professionals who are already working,” Reid said. “It’s a bridge between those two communities. We get to learn from them and they can see what we are bringing to the table.”

Senior theatre major Moriamo Akibu said the insight provided by professionals can be beneficial to students.

“Seeing as I’m about to graduate and I live in the D.C. area and will most likely start my career here, it’s nice to know where people see the theatre in the area heading,” Akibu said.

Screentshot of Saturday's schedule. (Photo courtesy of tdps.umd.edu)
Screentshot of Saturday’s schedule. (Photo courtesy of tdps.umd.edu)

Reese said he got the idea for the panel last year when the university received a grant for conferences.

“I’m able to go out and meet a lot of people,” Reese said. “I thought it would be great to get all of those people together for a day of inclusion and diversity.”

Khalid Long, a Ph.D. candidate in the theatre department, assisted with last year’s symposium. Long specializes in dramaturgy and will speak in a panel this year on the subject.

Though he has never spoken on a dramaturgy panel before, Long said he is excited to “add his voice to the conversation.”

One of the most popular panels at last year’s event was the panel on education led by university professors, Reese said. The panel discussed how to increase inclusion in education and classes, which will also be a topic of discussion this semester.

During the catered lunch, there is a session called the “Chat-N-Chew,” where everybody gathers  to talk about the many aspects of the theatre industry, Reese said.

“It’s free-form and everybody talks about the business,” Reese said. “It’s beneficial to everyone, be it students who are wondering about the business or professionals trying to network.”

Long said the “Chat-N-Chew” will be one of the highlights of the day for him, as well.

“Everybody gets to sit and learn about each other’s crafts,” Long said. “We get to engage in conversation that will enrich our ideas and understanding of the industry.”

The symposium will be held in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to students.

headshotMaya Pottiger is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at mayabee777@aim.com.

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