Florida Studio Theatre presents Dialogues on Diversity. This call to conscience will include several discussions as well as events and exhibits from various community partners; Participating organizations include ABC News, the Sarasota County Public Libraries, the Jewish Federation, the Sarasota Ministerial Association, the Ringling Museum, and many more

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(Sarasota, FL) —Florida Studio Theatre presents Dialogues on Diversity. This call to conscience will include several discussions as well as events and exhibits from various community partners. Participating organizations include ABC News, the Sarasota County Public Libraries, the Jewish Federation, the Sarasota Ministerial Association, the Ringling Museum, and many more. These events will all coincide with FST’s hit production, Butler and upcoming productions of Alabama Story and My Name is Asher Lev. Panels are free to attend but reservations are required and can be made by calling the box office at 941-366-9000 or online at www.floridastudiotheatre.org. For a full list of events, please see the end of the release.

This community wide discussion will cycle through topics starting with historical truths from the past, to the cultural masks we all wear, to the institutional control of thought, all the way to the moral citizenship that we all have a right to exercise and a responsibility to recognize.

Leading FST’s efforts is Kate Alexander, Associate Director of FST, and the Forums Director. Alexander states, “It’s important that our theatre has become a hub, so to speak, where other institutions can all join together and have voice on the issues of our day. Together, our libraries, religious organizations, museums, media, and more can speak to the cultural issues of our city. Where else could one do that?”

Chairing the Butler Steering Committee is Chief Judge Charles E. Williams, Circuit Judge of the 12th Judicial Court. Judge Williams agrees with Alexander stating, “In light of today’s headlines, the need for our community to have an honest discussion about our differences is more urgent than ever. In order for us to understand our differences, we must first talk about them.” The conversation will not just be heard within the FST walls but also at the local libraries, high school classrooms, church pulpits, local museums, and every household with cable TV.

Dialogues on Diversity community partners include: Bookstore 1 Sarasota, Chautauqua Institution, City of Sarasota Mayor’s Office, City of Sarasota Redevelopment Office, Political Strategist Ed James III, The Florida Holocaust Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida Veterans of Common Sense, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Gilbert King, Sy & Shelley Goldblatt, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Housing Authority of Sarasota, Jewish Federation, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America and Beth Blickers, Manatee Educational Television, Morehouse School of Medicine, New College, Ringling Museum of Art, Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club at Newtown, Sarasota Bar Association, Sarasota/Manatee Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason, Sarasota County Public Libraries, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota Ministerial Association, and WWSB ABC 7 News.

 

Guest panelist President Emeritus of Morehouse College and Director of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution, Robert Michael Franklin speaks to the immediate need for these types of discussion in today’s cultural climate stating, “I believe that our next phase of history must flow from a public to a private embrace of the need for progress in socioeconomic class and racial equality. We now must move beyond law and policy to changes in our personal attitudes, custom, culture and daily practices. Good law expresses our deeply held moral values. We are a great nation, in large measure, because of laws like the Nineteenth Amendment that enfranchised women, the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and laws that protect hard working Americans. But surely we can now see that although law is necessary, it is not sufficient to produce the societal change we should expect as moral citizens.”

Alexander concludes stating, “Like peeling layers of an onion, each forum brings us a different vantage point, a different experience. We grow through this ever deepening understanding of our country.”

For a full list of Panel discussions and other partnering events, please see the end of the release. Panels are free to attend but reservations are required and can be made by calling the box office at 941-366-9000 or online at www.floridastudiotheatre.org.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret,  and Bowne’s Lab Theatre. 

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience.  FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world.  As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

 

Dialogues on Diversity Series:

Panel Discussions:

Panel #1Insights and Inklings: Butler Panel Discussion: Moderated by Chief Judge Williams with guest Dr. Brendan Goff, Assistant Professor of American History.
Jan. 21
st, 5:00-6:00pm – Keating Theatre

Panel #2The Masks We Wear: Butler Panel Discussion: Moderated by Chief Judge Williams

guest Dr. Eddy Regnier and cast members Shane Taylor and Eric Hoffmann.
Feb. 18
th, 5:00-6:00pm – Keating Theatre


Panel #3The Roots of Hatred: My Name is Asher Lev Panel Discussion

TBA, 5:00-6:00pm – Keating Theatre

Panel #4Hot Topics of Today: Banned Books and Other Literature: Alabama Story
Panel Discussion:
Moderated by Opinion-Editor Tom Tryon with guests Sarabeth Kalajian, Director of Sarasota County Libraries & Historical Resources; Edward James III, political strategist; Georgia Court, Owner of Bookstore 1 Sarasota, and Dr. April Flakne, Associate Professor of Philosophy.

Apr. 28th, 5:00-6:00pm – Gompertz Theatre

Panel #5Moral Citizenship: A Call to Conscience: Alabama Story Panel Discussion: Moderated by Chief Judge Williams with guest Dr. Robert M. Franklin, President Emeritus of Morehouse College and Director of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution.

May. 19th, 5:00-6:00pm – Gompertz Theatre

On the Web:

FST is holding an online discussion at www.fst-blog.com with guest writers including President Emeritus of Morehouse College and Director of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution, Dr. Robert M Franklin, Chief Judge Williams Circuit Judge of the 12th Judicial Court, Actor Shane Taylor, County Commissioner Carolyn Mason, Executive Director of The Florida Holocaust Museum, Elizabeth Gelman, Political strategist, Ed James III, and Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Gilbert King.

Post Show Discussions: After select performances, cast members will stay after the show to answer audience questions and discuss themes within the show.

High School Performances: Student matinee performances of Butler will be held for local high school students to see the show and also participate in post-show discussions with select cast members .

Pay What You Can Night: On February 27th, FST will present an evening performance of Butler open to the community at a cost that they can afford. This will allow for those who cannot typically afford a theatre ticket, a chance to enjoy a professional production of the show.

In the Churches: The month of February will feature the Sarasota Ministerial Association’s Message From The Pulpits. Local churches and synagogues will dedicate their services to speaking on race issues. Trinity Episcopal Church will also be hosting a Racial Justice Discussion.

In the Schools: Chief Judge Williams will travel to Sarasota County schools to speak with students about the history and current implications of race in American society. In partnership with the Housing Authority of Sarasota, FST Teaching Artists will also be administering four Playwriting workshops inspired by the themes and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This partnership with the Housing Authority of Sarasota will conclude with a final presentation of completed plays to be presented on January 16.

On TV: ABC 7 will be participating in a series of Public Service Announcements to spread the conversation to households across four counties. Manatee Educational Television will broadcast select panel discussion for local audiences to view on television.

In the Libraries: The Sarasota County Libraries and the Florida Holocaust Museum will sponsor Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: Civil Rights Movement in Sarasota and Tampa Bay. This exhibit will be presented at Selby Library and North Sarasota Libraries through the month of May.

Dialogues on Diversity Calendar of Events

December

Dec. 8th | Butler: Final Dress Rehearsal for Invited Guests 8:00 PM | Keating Theatre

Dec. 11th | Butler: Opening Night 8:00 PM Keating Theatre

Dec 15th | Luncheon and Round table with Richard Strand

Dec 16th | Plays That Matter: Discussion with Richard Strand 5:00 PM | Bea Freidman Room

January

Jan 5th | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award playwriting workshop Provided by the Housing Authority of Sarasota and the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club 4:00-5:00 PM

Jan 7th | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award playwriting workshop Provided by the Housing Authority of Sarasota and the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club 4:00-5:00 PM

Jan 9th | Racial Justice Discussion from Trinity Episcopal Church Hosted by St. Wilfred Episcopal Church

Jan 11th | Press Announcement of Forum-Related Programs

Jan 11th | Online Forum Discussion at www.fst-blog.com Join the Conversation with guests Chief Judge Charles E. Williams, Circuit Judge of the 12th Judicial Court; Dr. Robert Franklin, President Emeritus of Morehouse College and Director of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution; Gilbert King, Pulitzer-Prize winning author; Carolyn Mason, Sarasota County Commissioner; Elizabeth Gelman, Executive Director at The Florida Holocaust Museum; and Shane Taylor, cast member of Butler

Jan 11th | Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America Twitter Campaign Launch

Jan 12th | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award playwriting workshop Provided by the Housing Authority of Sarasota and the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club 4:00-5:00 PM

Jan 14th | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award playwriting workshop Provided by the Housing Authority of Sarasota and the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club 4:00-5:00 PM

Jan 16th | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award playwriting presentation The Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County 2:00 PM

Jan 21st | Insights and Inklings: Butler Panel Discussion Moderated by Chief Judge Williams with guest Dr. Brendan Goff, Assistant Professor of American History 5:00-6:00 PM | Keating Theatre

Jan 21st | High school performances begin: Butler with post-show discussion

10:00 AM | Keating Theatre

Jan 21st | Preparatory discussions on Butler available at Sarasota County schools led by Chief Judge Williams

Week of Jan 25th | METV Broadcast of Panel Discussion

Jan 27th | McIntosh Ministerial Luncheon Hosted at the Jewish Federation 11:45AM – 1:00 PM

Jan 28th | Butler: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Chief Judge Williams and Director Jason Cannon Immediately Following Show | Keating Theatre

Jan 28th | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM | Keating Theatre

February

Feb | Preparatory discussions on Butler at Sarasota County schools led by Chief Judge Williams throughout the month of February

Feb 1st | A Message From Our Pulpits: Diversity in Action Sarasota Ministerial Association’s constituent churches and synagogues dedicate the month of February to speaking on race issues

Feb 4th | Butler: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Chief Judge Williams and Director Jason Cannon Immediately Following Show | Keating Theatre

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eb 11th | Butler: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Director Jason Cannon Immediately Following Show | Keating Theatre

Feb 18th | The Masks We Wear: Butler Panel Discussion Moderated by Chief Judge Williams with guest Dr. Eddy Regnier and cast members Shane Taylor and Eric Hoffmann 5:00-6:00 PM | Keating Theatre

Feb 18th | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM |Keating Theatre

Week of Feb 22nd | METV Broadcast of Panel Discussion

Feb 24th | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM |Keating Theatre

Feb 26th | An Evening With Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice and Ambassador, Andrew Young 4:30 PM |Keating Theatre

Feb 26th | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM |Keating Theatre

Feb 27th | Pay What You Can Night Sponsored by Sy & Shelley Goldblatt
Pre and Post-show speeches by
Steering Committee members Mayor Willie Charles Shaw, and President of Sarasota County NAACP, Trevor Harvey 8:00 PM | Keating Theatre

March

Mar 3rd | Butler: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Chief Judge Williams and Director Jason Cannon Immediately Following Show | Keating Theatre

Mar 3rd | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM |Keating Theatre

Mar 4th | High school performance: Butler with post-show discussion 10:00 AM |Keating Theatre

Mar 8th | My Name is Asher Lev: Final Dress Rehearsal for Invited Guests 8:00 PM | Keating Theatre

Mar 11th | My Name is Asher Lev: Opening Night 8:00 PM | Keating Theatre

TBA| The Roots of Hatred: My Name is Asher Lev Panel Discussion 5:00- 6:00 PM | Keating Theatre

Week of Mar 28th | METV Broadcast of Panel Discussion

April

Apr 6th | Alabama Story: Final Dress Rehearsal for Invited Guests 8:00 PM | Gompertz Theatre

Apr 8th | Alabama Story: Opening Night 8:00 PM | Gompertz Theatre

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pr 10th |Alabama Story: Post-show discussion With special guests Kenneth Jones, playwright, and Jack Reed Immediately Following Matinee | Gompertz Theatre

Apr 14th | Alabama Story: Post-show discussion Immediately Following Show | Gompertz Theatre

Apr 21 | Alabama Story: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Chief Judge Williams Immediately Following Show | Gompertz Theatre

Apr 28th | Hot Topics of Today: Banned Books and Other Literature: Alabama Story Panel Discussion: Moderated by Opinion-Editor Tom Tryon with guests Sarabeth Kalajian, Director of Sarasota County Libraries & Historical Resources; Edward James III, political strategist; Georgia Court, Owner of Bookstore 1 Sarasota; and Dr. April Flakne, Associate Professor of Philosophy 5:00-6:00 PM | Gompertz Theatre

May

May 1st| Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: Civil Rights Movement in Sarasota and Tampa Bay Sponsored by The Florida Holocaust Museum & The Sarasota County Public Libraries Exhibited at Selby and North Sarasota Libraries through the month of May

May 1st | Sarasota Stories: Panel Discussion Panel Discussion led by Mayor Willie Charles Shaw following the launch of Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts

May 1st | A Call to Citizenship: WWSB ABC7 launches public service announcements across their full coverage area for Dialogues on Diversity

May 1st | Mayoral Proclamation of Diversity Day

Week of May 2nd | METV Broadcast on Panel Discussion

May 5th | Alabama Story: Post-show discussion Facilitated by Chief Judge Williams Immediately Following Show | Gompertz Theatre

May 19th | Moral Citizenship: A Call to Conscience: Alabama Story Panel Discussion Moderated by Chief Judge Williams with guest Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Director of the Religion Department at The Chautauqua Institution 5:00-6:00 PM | Gompertz Theatre

Week of May 23rd | METV Broadcast on Panel Discussion

May 23rd | Sarasota Celebrates Diversity: Sharing Our Stories

Dialogues on Diversity Closing Event 5:30-7:30 PM

May 23th | Mayoral Proclamation of Diversity Day Presentation

May 26th | Alabama Story: Post-show discussion Immediately Following Show | Gompertz Theatre

May 28th | Closing night: Alabama Story 8:00PM | Gompertz Theatre
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