Touring Theater Company Visits TTU, Cookeville to Promote Unity, Understanding

Next week, area residents will have several unique opportunities to explore one of the most pressing social issues facing our communities - diversity.

The nationally renowned theatrical ensemble "Living the Dream Theater" will visit Cookeville Nov. 8 - 14 for a Diversity 2000 Residency, offering performances and opening dialogues on issues of racial, gender, sexual and social barriers. The group's visit is part of Tennessee Technological University's Center Stage Series designed to provide exposure to the arts and multicultural activities.

"These performers are bridge builders," said Tammy Reynolds, director of Minority Affairs at TTU. "They bridge misunderstanding and discrimination barriers by laying foundations for meaningful discourse among people of all races, genders and cultures."

While their message is a common but nonetheless important one, their delivery methods are anything but. The touring troupe, which has played more than 600 venues in 44 states and the Caribbean, mixes plays and workshops with visits to local schools and productions open to everyone.

With an overt theme of unity and understanding, Living the Dream will give performances, do local radio interviews, talk with elementary school children and host workshops designed to promote cross-racial dialogue and social responsibility.

"We're fortunate to be able to bring this ensemble to Cookeville," Reynolds added. "Their productions and workshops will definitely benefit the campus community, but we hope this opportunity will also allow us to address concerns, open meaningful dialogue and promote change in our surrounding communities as well."

Living the Dream's community programming begins this Sunday and continues through Saturday, Nov. 14:

* "Our Black Men are Dying," a thought-provoking play, will take place at 7 pm. in TTU's University Center Multipurpose Room.

Monday, Nov. 9
* Live radio call-in interview with Dave Johnson, WPTN AM-780, beginning at 8 a.m.
* Live radio interview on WTTU FM-88.5, 1 p.m.
* "Black Man Rising," an artistic performance, takes place at 7 p.m. in the TTU University Center Multipurpose Room.

Tuesday, Nov. 10
* Visit with Cane Creek Elementary School 4th grade students, 8:15 a.m.
* Performance Workshop featuring open-microphone poetry and music, 11 a.m. in TTU's University Center OVC Room

Thursday, Nov. 12
* Visit with Cane Creek Elementary School 4th grade students, 8:15 a.m.
* Radio interview at WPTN AM-780, 10 a.m.
* "Strive for Excellence Forum," cross-racial dialogue, 7 p.m., TTU's Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center.

Saturday, Nov. 14
* Social Responsibility Workshop, 10 a.m., TTU's Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center.

All performance and workshop events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend. For more information, call the TTU Minority Affairs Office at 372-3392.