BEAVER DAM AREA COMMUNITY THEATRE PLAY-WRITING WORKSHOP
UNDOING RACISM THROUGH STORIES . . .
FACILITATOR: Jeremy Kamps
Playwright instructor Jeremy Kamps, a Beaver Dam High School alumni, received a Theatre/English bachelor degree from UW-WI, a Master in Education degree from Pace University, New York, and an MFA degree from New York University Tisch School of the Arts in Dramatic Writing. His plays have received productions, awards and recognition from a variety of publications, theaters and playwriting entities. As an educator and activist, Jeremy has lived and worked in Latin America, India, and in East Africa. Jeremy is also a professor at New York University and the Pratt Art Institute.
WORKSHOP PURPOSE – Provide an educational opportunity that further develops playwriting, directing, producing, and acting skills with concentration on BDACT’s initiative to heighten critical consciousness on systemic and interpersonal racism. It is the goal to particularly support people open to growing and learning as playwrights and community members. The stories from this introspection and examination will then be amplified on the BDACT stage.
PLAN – Participants will develop ten-minute plays to be produced as a play festival at the discretion of BDACT. The workshop will focus only on the writing and re-writing of the plays, honing key elements of dramatic writing as a way for the writer to engage in a broader discourse on the role of Whiteness in undoing racial injustice and inequity. All sessions, one-on-one and group meetings, will be via live video.
Will this workshop be something you’d like to do?
“I’m afraid to talk about race.”
Then you’d be perfect for this. It’s a shame-free, honest space to examine your beliefs and do the necessary reflection to grow. Talking about race usually goes badly, but that can’t be a reason to disengage. We hope to build a group discussion that can hold both the hard truths and grace for each other.
“I’m a white person so I’d have nothing to add.”
You being a white person is exactly why you need to be in this room. Racism can’t be undone without White people reckoning with the past, the present and seeing the impact of race in their individual lives.
“I’ve never written a play before.”
Perfect. Then this workshop is for you. As long as you are a human, you have stories.
“I’ve written plays before.”
This will be a space for you to continue to grow and give you a cohort for support.
“I’m a person-of-color, will this be relevant for me too?”
Yes. The discussions we have will be relevant and reflective of the people who are in the room. We are all part of the same community and we all have our own identities. Whatever that identity may be, this space is about connecting us as individuals across race and all lines of perceived differences.
December: Individual sessions with Facilitator. (Zoom)
January: 3-4 workshops focusing on race (in our lives, in our histories, and in our culture). (Zoom)
February: 3-4 workshops focusing on the craft of playwriting (begin work on plays that examine or undo the function of racism in America) (Zoom)
March: Individual sessions with Facilitator. (Zoom)
April: 3-4 Focus on workshopping and revising drafts of ten minute short plays (Zoom)
May: Group meeting to set up collaboration with directors.
Production – TBD (specific date to be determined, pending BDACT production schedule)
Playwrights may see their work performed on the BDACT stage in a 10-minute Play Festival.
Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Statement on Racism and Inclusion
Our nation has encountered and persevered through periods of civil and social unrest, pandemics, political turmoil, and economic recessions before, but never all at the same time. During this unprecedented time and as it has persisted for hundreds of years, insidious racism toward people of color continuously threatens their lives and liberty. In this perilous era of racial injustice and inequity in our own communities and country, we can no longer, in good conscience, stay silent. Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre believes that in order for All Lives to Matter, we unequivocally state that Black Lives Matter.
Moreover, BDACT has been, and will continue to be, a place for everyone to be entertained as well as a place to bring forth a greater understanding and honoring of all people. Theater provides a space that brings us together to see each other’s full selves, full identities, and full humanity. While striving to reach new highs in both entertainment and community, we welcome people of all abilities, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations and backgrounds. We stand together against racism, prejudice, and violence in all forms. We will be a safe haven for actors, directors, designers, musicians, all BDACT volunteers, and audiences of all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds.
We are proud of our theater as an engaging and collaborative form of art for so many in our communities. We have a duty to engage diverse theater participants and audiences that reflect the demographics of our communities and society. We celebrate our common humanity, yet challenge ourselves to do the difficult work of diving into our differences as we strive to reach a better shared understanding. We know that words alone are not enough. Making this statement meaningful, requires an authentic commitment to a plan of action which will enlighten the true meaning of BDACT’s watchwords, “Theatre for everyone!”