sealPurdue News

February 15, 2002

Interactive theater workshop on diversity to be held at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An interactive theater workshop on diversity, directed at the Black Cultural Center by HumanRITE (Human Relations Interactive Theatre Ensemble), will be shown live at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. The workshop will be broadcast on BTVLive (Channel 18) on campus and on Insight Communications (Channel 5) off campus.

The workshop, sponsored by the Black Cultural Center, is free and open to the public. It will begin with a broadcast of "Angry Eye," a video about discrimination, based upon the work of diversity expert Jane Elliott. The presentation by HumanRITE will follow.

HumanRITE is a Purdue-based troupe of actors, educators and writers who seek to increase awareness of social, cultural and academic issues through interactive theater workshops and performances. Composed of students from the theatre department, the group's goal is to "foster tolerance, sensitivity, understanding and respect."

Katherine Burke, director of HumanRITE, says that during the workshop, four theatre students will present "heated" scenes dealing with issues of diversity. The scenes are designed to prompt questions and discussions.

One scene features two roommates. One roommate is gay; the other roommate is not. Another scene features two classmates working on a class project. One student is African-American; the other student is Caucasian.

Each scene stops at a critical point where the audience can ask questions. The actors will remain in character while they respond.

"The audience can challenge the people on stage, debate, argue or console them if something touches them," Burke says. "Each experience is different. The discussion is generated right from the audience."

The actors include Brian Edgecomb, a graduate student from Belle Glade, Fla.; Jim Harris, a graduate student from Morrilton, Ark.; Joey Basu, a senior from Carmel, Ind.; and Jillian Shaw, a freshman from Anderson, Ind.

HumanRITE can develop issue-related workshops for other organizations, both on and offcampus. Potential issues include sexual assault, eating disorders and substance abuse. For more information, contact Burke at (765) 494-0415,

CONTACTS: Katherine Burke, (765) 494-0415,; Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091,; Jay Mermoud, BTV manager, (765) 496-6365,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The media are welcome to take photos and video footage of the workshop. Contact Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, at (765) 494-3091 to make arrangements.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page