Education and outreach for angels in America, part one: millennium Approaches (A Professional Problem)
Westkaemper, Lisa K.
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The 2002 mission statement of the Department of Theatre and Dance asserts that the department fosters the arts of theatre and dance through creative endeavor, research, educating, training students, and cultivating an audience. Departmental faculty members chose Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and approved the inclusion of it in the 2002-03 season because of the merits of the script and its ability to fulfill the parameters of the mission statement. The faculty realized that some previous productions of this script created controversy. In North Carolina in 1996, members of the community tried to stop the Charlotte Repertory Theatre production by demanding enforcement of the city's indecent exposure law. The crisis surrounding the Charlotte production included legal court battles, bomb threats, extreme audience management techniques, and eventual cancellation of county funding to the arts. In 1999, the President of Kilgore College defended his Drama Department's right to produce this play, despite vehement opposition from the community. In the past, there have been incidents in Lubbock that indicate a cause for concern regarding potential community opposition to a production of this play. The major focus of this dissertation is the development and implementation of the plan for Education and Outreach, which was designed to establish greater understanding in the Lubbock community (on and off campus) prior to and during the Spring, 2003 University Theatre production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. In order to create the Education and Outreach Plan, I was the primary member of the team formed to coordinate community interaction. I documented the aspects of this production that necessitated the formation of the Education and Outreach plan, in addition to documenting the interaction between the University Theatre community, the Texas Tech University community, and the Lubbock community that occurred in regards to this production. Chapter II provides an overview of two previous productions of Angels in America; one in Charlotte, North Carolina and a second in Kilgore, Texas. The reflections and summary section contains information on the artist/audience relationship, censorship in the arts, and academic freeedom issues in higher education.