The Human Voice: Theatre as a Means of Celebrating Diversity and Creating Community

By Daydrie Hague, Toni Alexander, Donna Sollie, Marie Wooten, Daniel Svyantek, Alice E. Smith and Overtoun Jenda.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a theatre professor working in the deep South of the United States, I am keenly aware of this region’s troubled history with civil rights, particularly as it applies to race and gender. My role as the primary theatre-voice instructor at my institution has afforded me the opportunity to participate in three dynamic collaborations in which the animating force of theatre and its applied training techniques played an integral role in facilitating the public affirmation of three historically oppressed groups: rural African-American school children (through the rehearsal and public performance of African-American praise poetry), transgendered individuals (through vocal therapy and applied acting techniques), and women in the STEM disciplines (through inter-active theatre presentations funded by the National Science Foundation). Each endeavor required the development of a unique application of both dramaturgy and a range of performance techniques designed to “give voice” to those who are frequently marginalized in the pursuit of their personal and professional desires, providing them with a sense of community and solidarity, and their audiences, often those belonging to the dominant culture, with new perspectives. My contention is that these kinds of theatre-based interdisciplinary projects can be effective instruments for empowering diverse groups with a sense of collective identity, and a forum through which their concerns can be heard, and their gifts celebrated.

Keywords: Theatre, Voice, Empowerment, Community, Education

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp.37-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 624.653KB).

Professor Daydrie Hague

Associate Professor of Theatre, Co-Director of BFA Performance, Department of Theatre, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Daydrie Hague (AEA SAG AFTRA) is a professional actor and a professor of Acting and Voice at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. She has worked as an actor throughout the US and in England. Ms. Hague is a Certified Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework,an Associate Editor for the International Dialects of English Archive and a theatre consultant to the National Science Foundation’s Advance Initiative which seeks to promote the advance of women in the STEM disciplines. Her most recent article, written with Dr. Michael Moran- “A New Role- A Team Approach to Supporting the Transgender/Transsexual Client in Transition” appears in the Voice and Speech Review.

Toni Alexander

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Toni Alexander, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Geography Auburn University, USA

Donna Sollie

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Donna Sollie, Ph.D. Professor, Human Development and Family Studies Assistant Provost for Women’s Initiatives Auburn University, USA

Marie Wooten

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Marie Wooten, Ph.D. Professor, Biological Sciences Dean, College of Mathematics and Sciences Auburn University, USA

Daniel Svyantek

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Daniel Svyantek, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Psychology Auburn University, USA

Alice E. Smith

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Alice E. Smith, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Industrial & Systems Engineering Auburn University, USA

Dr. Overtoun Jenda

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA

Overton Jenda, Ph.D. Professor, Mathematics, Associate Provost for Diversity and Mulicultural Affairs Auburn University, USA

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