1st Edition

Casting a Movement The Welcome Table Initiative

Edited By Claire Syler, Daniel Banks Copyright 2020
    266 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Casting a Movement brings together US-based actors, directors, educators, playwrights, and scholars to explore the cultural politics of casting.

    Drawing on the notion of a "welcome table"—a space where artists of all backgrounds can come together as equals to create theatre—the book’s contributors discuss casting practices as they relate to varying communities and contexts, including Middle Eastern American theatre, Disability culture, multilingual performance, Native American theatre, color- and culturally-conscious casting, and casting as a means to dismantle stereotypes. Syler and Banks suggest that casting is a way to invite more people to the table so that the full breadth of US identities can be reflected onstage, and that casting is inherently a political act; because an actor’s embodied presence both communicates a dramatic narrative and evokes cultural assumptions associated with appearance, skin color, gender, sexuality, and ability, casting choices are never neutral. By bringing together a variety of artistic perspectives to discuss common goals and particular concerns related to casting, this volume features the insights and experiences of a broad range of practitioners and experts across the field.

    As a resource-driven text suitable for both practitioners and academics, Casting a Movement seeks to frame and mobilize a social movement focused on casting, access, and representation.

    Chapter 2 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license. 

    List of Figures

    List of Contributors

    Foreword: From "I Love Your Freckles" to "Representation Matters"

    By Liesl Tommy




    By Claire Syler


    The Welcome Table: Casting for an Integrated Society

    By Daniel Banks


    Part One: Culturally Conscious Casting

    Chapter One: The Chasm Between

    By Ayanna Thompson

    Chapter Two: Playing with "Race" in The New Millennium

    By Justin Emeka

    Chapter Three: Nevertheless, Whiteness Persisted

    By Brian Eugenio Herrera


    Part Two: Approaches to Casting Middle Eastern American Theatre

    Chapter Four: Casting Pearls Before Authenticity

    By Yussef El Guindi

    Chapter Five: ReOrienting: A Middle Eastern American Casting Case Study

    By Torange Yeghiazarian

    Chapter Six: Casting Middle Eastern American Theatre: Cultural, Academic, and Professional Challenges

    By Michael Malek Najjar


    Part Three: Casting and Disability Culture

    Chapter Seven: Casting Disabled Actors: Taking Our Rightful Place Onstage

    By Christine Bruno

    Chapter Eight: The Difference Disability Makes: Unique Considerations in Casting Performers with Disabilities

    By Carrie Sandahl

    Chapter Nine: A Great and Complicated Thing: Reimagining Disability

    By Victoria Lewis


    Part Four: Casting and Multilingual Performance

    Chapter Ten: The Sea Will Listen

    By Caridad Svich

    Chapter Eleven: Setting a Global Table with Multilingual Theatre

    By Eunice S. Ferreira

    Chapter Twelve: Creating Emergent Spaces: Casting, Community-building, and Extended Dramaturgy

    By Ann Elizabeth Armstrong


    Part Five: Casting Contemporary Native American Theatre

    Chapter Thirteen: Journey

    By Ty Defoe (Giizhig)

    Chapter Fourteen: Native Voices at the Autry: Casting the Room

    By Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Jean Bruce Scott

    Chapter Fifteen: Decolonial Practices for Contemporary Native Theatre

    By Courtney Elkin Mohler


    Part Six: Dismantling Stereotypes

    Chapter Sixteen: Whose Story Is This to Tell?

    By Mei Ann Teo

    Chapter Seventeen: Casting, Cross-Racial Performance, and the Work of Creativity

    By Dorinne Kondo

    Chapter Eighteen: Artists of Color/Cross-Racial Casting

    By Donatella Galella


    Part Seven: Casting Across Identities

    Chapter Nineteen: Reaparecer

    By Elaine Ávila 

    Chapter Twenty: Collidescope 2.0: Performing the "Alien Gaze"

    By Priscilla Page

    Chapter Twenty-One: The Spatio-Temporal Logics of Collidescope’s Welcome Table

    By Brandi Wilkins Catanese



    By Daniel Banks


    Claire Syler is Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri and previously the Education Director at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Her research focuses on the intersection of theatre and education and has appeared in HowlRound; Theatre, Dance and Performance Training; Theatre Topics; and Youth Theatre Journal.

    Daniel Banks is co-director of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization dedicated to using the arts as a catalyst for dialogue and healing, engaging topics of representation, identity, and heritage. He served on the faculties of Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, the M.A. in Applied Theatre, CUNY, and as Chair of Performing Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM. He is the editor of Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater (University of Michigan).

    "a must-read title for any theatre professional, educator or student [...] Readers will walk away inspired to interrogate their own theatrical practice, engage in conversation with other theatre makers, and seek to create theatre where all have a seat and voice at the table."

    - Derrick Vanmeter, Southern Theatre

    "a timely work whose significance goes beyond the discipline of theater to add to the national conversation on institutionalized racism. Read alongside recent political, social and artistic developments, including the Black Lives Matter movement, theatre closures precipitated by COVID-19 and the political upheavals of the Trump presidency, it remaps the field."

    - Erith Jaffe-Berg, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre

    "As this volume reaches classrooms and institutions around the globe, the voices echoing through its pages will challenge theatre-makers to remember the implications that bodies of colour and other-ableness carry with them into production and to rethink the ways they welcome all communities to the table."

    - Collin Vorbeck, Theatre Research International