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Short plays plus talkbacks are great resources for families and others wanting to continue the conversation

(DALLAS, TX) – Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) continues its commitment to using the power of theater to spark important conversation about race by producing a series of short plays by award-winning playwright, poet, and changemaker Idris Goodwin. These three short shows, dubbed the ‘Social Justice Play Series,’ will be available completely free of charge at dct.org/ socialjustice/digital over the course of the next three months.  The first play, WATER GUN SONG, will be available starting this Friday, September 25. Two talkbacks will be a part of each release. In THE WATER GUN SONG (recommended for ages 6 and up), a mother tries to find the words to explain to her child why a water gun isn’t simply a toy. Local artist Jamal Gibran Sterling has been tapped to direct actress Guinea Bennett-Price and her son in the project.  Bennett-Price is excited to work with both Sterling and her son.  She says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with two of my favorite actors on THE WATER GUN SONG for DCT. Jamal Sterling is one of the best scene partners I've ever been onstage with. As a director, he is equally as generous and thoughtful. My son, Esau, and Jamal have shared the stage before as well and the mutual respect they have for each other is marvelous to witness.” As the mother of two African-American boys, Bennett-Price can also relate intimately to the story. She says, “The case of Tamir Rice struck me deeply at the time because my oldest son, Emir Price was the same age with too similar a name to ignore. My boys are both gentle spirits with loving hearts, but from a distance, how does anyone know that? To many, they are a threat just because they exist and any excuse for gunning them down could be used to deny them justice. This play gets that message across without overstating the obvious. I love its treatment of a simple moment that actually means the world.” Dallas Children’s Theater reached out to local actress Denise Lee to produce this series and lead the talkbacks.  While Lee has previously acted in shows at DCT, it was her creation of the movement, Change the Perception, after the 2016 Dallas police shootings that made her an ideal choice for this project.  Lee says, “As the founder of Change the Perception, I am very honored to identify the talented directors to present these plays and just as importantly, I am excited to be conducting the talkbacks for this very special project along with Change the Perception Board Vice-President, Thomas Collier. Conversations about racism are very difficult, but so very necessary to have in today's climate.  We hope that parents and their children will use these experiences to begin a dialogue about racism that fosters a belief system that they will be able to build on well after the talkbacks are over.” The second show, NOTHING RHYMES WITH JUNETEENTH (recommended for ages 9 and up) finds a parent and child trying to complete a rap for a school presentation and will be directed by Cherish Robinson and premieres October 16th. The third show #MATTER (recommended for ages 14 and up) shows two former high school friends debating matters of life and race will be directed by Feleceia Benton. As part of each play, DCT will offer two opportunities for the public to participate in a talkback hosted on Zoom.  Registration details are located at dct.org/socialjustice/digital. Two kinds of talkbacks will be offered.  During the Saturday sessions, parents and children will be separated during a portion of the gathering. Both groups will be asked the same questions.  When the whole group reconvenes, they will compare answers.  Lee feels that allowing children to speak freely in their own room gives parents a glimpse at more honest responses from their children.  Two separate devices (iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop), one for the children in the household to share, and one for the parent is highly recommended for the Saturday session. For those that would prefer to participate entirely as a family unit, they are encouraged to sign up for the Friday session. All are asked to have a dark marker and several pieces of paper to write on for the more participatory exercises.  Dallas Children’s Theater Presents Idris Goodwin’s Social Justice Play Series

THE WATER GUN SONG Written by Idris Goodwin Directed by Jamal Gibran Sterling THE CAST Esau Price…. Sam

Guinea Bennett-Price…. Jules

Denise Lee…. Project Producer and Lead Talkback Facilitator Robyn Flatt, Artie Olaisen, Nancy Schaeffer…. DCT Project Artistic Producers Janel Villatoro…. DCT Production Manager and Show Stage Manager Josh Smith…. Technical Director, Editor Lyle Huchton…. Costume Shop Supervisor Brian Christensen…. Sound Engineer, Editor Cherish Robinson…. Original Theme Music Tonya Holloway and Aaron Butler…. Videographers Thomas Collier…. Talkback Facilitator This project is made possible in Dallas thanks to The Melinda and Jim Johnson Family Additional funding also provided by Deborah and Craig Sutton About Idris Goodwin Across two decades Idris Goodwin has forged a multi-faceted career as an award-winning playwright, Break Beat poet, director, educator, and organizer. Idris is the newly appointed Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. A catalyst for culture, Goodwin uses his full creative powers to galvanize people to the community square. He is a creative voice for change, impassioned by art for social good. His critically acclaimed plays like And In This Corner: Cassius Clay, How We Got On, and Hype Man: A Break Beat Play are widely produced across the country at professional theatres, college campuses, and non-traditional spaces alike. He’s been honored to receive developmental support from institutions like The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O’Neill Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, and The Playwrights’ Center. In addition to the recently released poetry collection Can I Kick It?, he’s had several publications from Haymarket Books including Inauguration co-written with Nico Wilkinson, Human Highlight: Ode To Dominique Wilkins co-written with Kevin Coval, and the play This Is Modern Art also co-written with Kevin Coval. He’s appeared on HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel. Passionate about cultivating new audiences in the arts, Goodwin served two seasons as Producing Artistic Director at StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. He actively serves on both the advisory boards of Theatre for Young Audiences USA and Children’s Theatre Foundation Association. About Dallas Children’s Theater  Dallas Children’s Theater features professional actors performing for an annual audience of 250,000 young people and their families through mainstage productions, a national touring company, and an arts-in-education program. As the only major organization in Dallas focusing solely on youth and family theater, DCT builds bridges of understanding between generations and cultures, instilling an early appreciation of literature, art, and the performing arts in tomorrow’s artists and patrons. 2020-21 Season Sponsors are: Texas Instruments, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, The Shubert Foundation, TACA, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Anonymous Family, The Carlson Foundation, March Family Foundation, and Hoblitzelle Foundation. General Sponsors Include: The Rosewood Corporation, Vibeke Jarnum & Niels Anderskouv, Karen & Ken Travis, Anonymous Family, Lisa K Simmons, Elizabeth & Bart Showalter, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation, Inc., The Estate of Caroline Rose Hunt, and The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation. Additional Support is Provided By: Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, TXU Energy, Capital for Kids, Legacy Texas Bank, Frost Bank, Stephen M. Seay Foundation, Orien Levy Woolf & Dr. Jack Woolf Charitable Trust, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Karen & Jim Wiley, The Hersh Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef, Mickie & Jeff Bragalone, Holly & Tom Mayer and Maile & Charles Shea, Maintenance Inc., The Perot Foundation, Strake Foundation, Which Wich, and Green Mountain Energy, DCT's official renewable energy partner. Sensory-Friendly Sponsors Include: The Melinda & Jim Johnson Family Charitable Fund, Fichtenbaum Charitable Trust, Chi Omega Christmas Market, The Sapphire Foundation, and DCT's Fall Family Party Contributors. DCT's National Touring Sponsor is Neiman Marcus. #

Photo credit information:

Denise Lee - Credit Bryan Chatlien

Esau Price - Credit  Vonda Klimaszewski

Guinea Bennett-Price - Credit Vonda Klimaszewski

Jamal Sterling - Credit Brent Weber

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