1st Edition

Stages of Reckoning Antiracist and Decolonial Actor Training

Edited By Amy Mihyang Ginther Copyright 2023
    288 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Stages of Reckoning is a crucial conversation about how racialized bodies and power intersect within actor training spaces.

    This book provokes embodied and intellectual discomfort for the reader to take risks with their ideologies, identities, and practices and to make new pedagogical choices for students with racialized identities. Centering the voices of actor trainers of color to acknowledge their personal experience and professional pedagogy as theory, this volume illuminates actionable ideas for text work, casting, voice, consent practices, and movement while offering decolonial approaches to current Eurocentric methods. These offerings invite the reader to create spaces where students can bring more of themselves, their communities, and their stories into their training and as fodder for performance making that will lead to a more just world.

    This book is for people in high/secondary schools, higher education, and private training studios who wish to teach and direct actors of color in ways that more fully honor their multiple identities.

    List of figures

    List of contributors


    Foreword: navigating liberation: a conversation between friends

    Nicole Brewer and Walton Wilson

    Introduction: why this book now?

    Amy Mihyang Ginther

    PART I: Distilling/grounding/performing identities

    1. Black queer autoethnographies: tools for equitable teaching and learning in predominantly white institutions

    Gregory King

    2. Societal othering of Asian Americans and its perpetuation through casting

    Joy Lanceta Coronel

    3. Embodying racial consciousness: white allyship as given circumstance and objective for the casting and coaching of scenework

    Rachel E. Blackburn

    PART II: Embodying disruption/abstention/resistance

    4. I’mma do me: code-switch resistance as collective liberation in voice and speech classes

    Alicia Richardson

    5. The erotic of abstinence: refusing the white-possessive and embracing settler abstinence in performance pedagogy

    Maria Teresa Houar

    6. Nepantla: lingering in-between to embody our voice

    Sayda Trujillo

    PART III: Traveling across time/space/language

    7. Representation matters: the why and how of decolonizing Stanislavski actor training

    Alison Nicole Vasquez

    8. Empowering the somatically othered actor through multilingual improvisation in training

    Kristine Landon-Smith and Chris Hay

    9. The possibilities of paradox: decolonial Shakespeare process in practice

    Amy Mihyang Ginther

    PART IV: Transforming across/through/around disciplinarity

    10. A time of protest: exploring activism and acting through Hip-Hop Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed

    Daphnie Sicre

    11. Whose body is dis: taksu, ase, Black queer intersections, and the awakening of the actor’s spiritual practice

    Budi Miller

    12. Stigmata: biography of an Arab female body in pain

    Maiada Aboud

    Afterword: morning rain, parting clouds, and what is to come

    Amy Mihyang Ginther and Celia Mercedes Espinosa



    List of Contributors

    Maiada Aboud (they/them) Aboud’s work deals with ways that social and religious structures interconnect and influence the individual. Using endurance art, Maiada's interest in social and religious issues draws on a unique and personal perspective. Born in Palestine (Arab Israeli), graduated from Haifa University, and received her education in the UK, where she completed her master’s at Coventry University, and her PhD at Sheffield Hallam University.

    Rachel E. Blackburn (she/they) is an artist, teacher, scholar, and corporate communications consultant, who is always considering the ways in which performance can disrupt the status quo, engendering social consciousness and progress. She loves seeing the world, music, jokes, and residing in Atlanta with her beloved husband Neil.  

    Nicole Brewer (she/her) is a community held single mother of two, an antiracist theatre practitioner, director, educator, writer, and facilitator who is dedicated to collaborations that center liberation and joy. She is currently on faculty at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale and resides in Washington DC with her children.

    Celia Mercedes Espinosa (she/her/ella) was born and raised in Berkeley CA, the Ohlone lands of the East Bay. She is a Brown Indigenous Latine actress, activist, and community worker committed to the work of dismantling the structures of white supremacy inside and outside of the art world.

    Amy Mihyang Ginther (she/they) is an assistant professor within the Department of Performance, Play & Design at UC Santa Cruz. She is a queer, transracially adopted theatre maker, accent designer, and theorist who publishes and performs around themes of identity, embodied trauma, power, and representation. They are a Master Teacher of Acting and Singing with Archetypes, and is a certified teacher of Knight-Thompson Speechwork and Tectonic Theater Project’s Moment Work™ devising method. Ginther is currently working on a musical, No Danger of Winning and a Virtual Reality experience about reproductive justice, Mountains after Mountains (산 넘어 산).

    Chris Hay (he/him) is Professor of Drama at Flinders University in South Australia. He is an Australian theater and cultural historian, whose research analyzes mainstage and subsidized theater for what it can reveal about national identities and anxieties. His most recent work is Contemporary Australian Playwriting (Routledge, 2022), co-written with Stephen Carleton.

    Maria Teresa Houar is a queer scholar of Indigenous Mexican, Latinx and Portuguese and Haole descent, born and raised in Hawaiʻi on the outer islands of Kauai and Maui. Maria Teresa is the director of Leviathan Dance, and a Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researching popular dance through intersectional lenses of sexuality, fetish, queerness, disability, militarism, intimacy, and consent culture.

    Gregory King (he/him) received his MFA in choreographic practice and theory from Southern Methodist University and has performed with the Washington Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, and The Lion King on Broadway. Mr. King served as director for the Decolonizing Dance Writing; International Exchange Project, bringing together artists from Peru, Columbia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Ghana, to share their practice and discourse about teaching and learning dance through a non-Western lens. 

    Joy Lanceta Coronel (she/her) is a Filipina American voice and speech coach, acting teacher, executive presentation coach, and researcher committed to examining societal impact on historically marginalized groups. She is an MFA Voice Studies graduate from Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and after spending over a decade working in NYC, Joy now lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband Carlo and daughter Cecilia.

    Kristine Landon-Smith (she/her) is a theatre practitioner and lecturer in higher education. Credits include Senior Lecturer in Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Australia; Artistic Director of Tamasha Theatre Company, UK; Senior Producer for BBC Radio Drama; and freelance appointments as a director and lecturer within industry and HE settings. Kristine focuses on artist training using a multi-lingual intracultural theatre practice and the creation of new work using the headphone verbatim tool in applied theatre settings.

    Budi Miller (he/him/she/her) is Senior Lecturer in Acting at Victorian College of the Arts University of Melbourne, Senior Leadership of Blak C.O.R.E. (care of radical energy) and Director of Advanced Training at the Fitzmaurice Institute. He is the co-Artistic Director of Theatre of Others, an UNESCO designated master teacher of mask work, and has taught and performed in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Peru, Mexico, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and Australia since 1992.

    Alicia Richardson (she/her) is a Black American actor, writer, and vocal coach based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She graduated from York University’s MFA Acting & Diploma of Voice Teaching Programs. Find her and her majestic ‘fro all up on ya’ television screens and in classrooms, out here fillin’ the world with as much joy and resistance as she can muster. 

    Daphnie Sicre (she/ella) is a Latina professor who shares a deep passion for Black and Latinx perspectives in theatre. Engaging in anti-racist and culturally competent theatre practices, she facilitates workshops to teach about EDI theatre pedagogy. When she is not conducting workshops, teaching, writing, or researching AfroLatinidad, she can be found directing or serving as a dramaturg professionally.

    Sayda Trujillo (she/her) is a Guatemalan Canadian American theatre-maker who writes solo performance and teaches Voice, Movement, Acting, Devising, and Applied Theatre.  She has performed and taught in more than thirty countries and lives in Antigua, Guatemala where she works as a vocal coach and leads community-healing processes.

    Alison Nicole Vasquez (she/ella) is a Latinx instructor, director, actriz, playwright, and scholar. Forever inspired by husband René, and daughter Paloma.

    Walton Wilson (he/him) is a professional actor, teaching artist, and vocal coach based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He is a Professor in the Practice at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.


    Amy Mihyang Ginther is an assistant professor in the Department of Performance, Play & Design at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA.