By Emma Gomez, JRN 101 Student
A dance company featuring “many artistic languages.” A multi-genre concert featuring “songs for Syria.” A performance featuring musicians and vocalists from New Zealand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, Madagascar, Easter Island, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
These are some of the performances in the 2021-22 season at Moraine’s Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Diversity has been an important part of the college as a whole. Moraine Valley has changed its diversity statements several times to be more inclusive and focus not only on race, but gender, age, disability and more.
We have an obligation to help people expand their view of the world by giving them the opportunity to experience different cultures, different points of view, different ways of looking at the world.”Thomas Hensel, FPAC managing director
Diversity in theater has played an important part in Moraine’s commitment. Thomas Hensel, the FPAC’s managing director, said he wants diversity to be seen in performances that are reflective of the culture.
“As a performing arts center in a college, it’s tremendously important to provide opportunities for local audiences to experience things that they may not have the chance to see anywhere else,” he said.
“We have an obligation to help people expand their view of the world by giving them the opportunity to experience different cultures, different points of view, different ways of looking at the world.”
A recent show at the FPAC featured Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in a performance that focused on multiculturalism, personal narratives, the combined experiences of the diverse artists, and multiple artistic languages.
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre engages the audience using “magnetic human stories” to create a narrative that is relatable to everyone. The company is diverse, emphasizing heritage, culture, and identity.
“Art can be a powerful tool for transformation,” Hensel said. “Diversity is important in the performing art because art often has the ability to touch people emotionally.”
Today, theater has tapped into diversity by emphasizing cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to create stories, making the performance have a deeper meaning for the audience. Multiculturalism has allowed new voices to be heard in theater, with shows such as Hamilton and Hadestown gaining great acclaim on Broadway.
“With art, people often experience something that might be out of their normal point of view, but they can be touched emotionally,” Hensel said. “Instead of shutting down as they might do if you tried to reason or discuss, they may walk away with a shift of perspective that happened on a deeper, more emotional level. That kind of slow but powerful shifting is something that theater can do well.”
Upcoming performances free to students
Two more performances will take place in the FPAC’s Dorothy Menker Theater as part of the professional series this semester:
Saturday, Nov. 20, 3 p.m.: “Songs for Syria,” featuring “three amazing Syrian artists,” according the website. The concert will “pay homage to the history and culture of Syria with multiple musical genres including classical violin, spoken word, neo-soul and funk with captivating lyrics about love, loss, and a war in Syria that has directly affected over 10,000,000 people.”
Saturday, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.: “Christmas in Killarney — An Irish Christmas Celebration.” The celebration is “set in Killarney, Ireland in the late 1920s.”
Tickets are free for students (with ID). To obtain student tickets, contact the box office at (708) 974-5500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are $35 for the general public, $31.50 for members, and $28 for veterans and active military.