The UIS Performing Arts Center has announced the creation of Our Stage/Our Voices (OSOV), a new on-going program to address the many barriers to full participation faced by members of historically underrepresented groups within the regional performing arts community.
These groups include, but are not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ, people who face economic disadvantages, and persons with disabilities. Barriers include lack of representation, stereotyping, inequity of opportunities to participate or lead, and cost.
Carly Shank, artistic programs director of UIS Performing Arts Services said, “We feel it is especially important work in our local arts community to commit resources toward the amplification of under-represented communities in the arts. All citizens benefit when the arts accurately represent a wide range of people in the way those individuals and communities want to be represented. We hope that Our Stage/Our Voices can have a rippling impact across the arts in our larger arts community.”
OSOV will contract an artist-in-residence that will serve for a year term to focus on not only creating art for the community, but to also shine a light on the artistic process and speak to the underserved communities of which they identify. Reggie Guyton is the first OSOV artist-in-residence. Guyton is an actor, director, and performing artist active throughout the Central Illinois community. He has worked with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield Muni Opera, Springfield Theatre Centre, Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield Area Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council, Blackburn College, and more. His next project in the community is directing “Ragtime” at the Springfield Muni. Guyton identifies as a cisgender queer Black man.
Guyton’s plans throughout his residency include facilitating workshops for developing local artists, and collaborating with other artists to write, create, and perform a new musical work that highlights the resiliency and joy of the Black experience.
For more information about Reggie Guyton or to support Our Stage/Our Voices, visit UISpac.com/education/our-stage-our-voices or call (217) 206-6150.