The Portland Playhouse is launching a season-long series of special evenings aimed at making local theater more accessible to people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, or BIPOC.
Development Director Aiyanna Cunningham said the theatre will offer these new pay-what-you-want events — called BIPOC affinity nights — for every production of the 2021-2022 season.
The theater was scheduled to inaugurate the first of the affinity night events at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the production of “Barbecue.” The play was written by distinguished African-American playwright Robert O’Hara, and is being performed by a largely BIPOC cast with the support of a diverse creative team.
“People show up to see plays that reflect the people, culture and situations that they can relate to. And overwhelmingly in theatre, the stories have been white centric,” Cunningham said. “The work of dismantling that needs to be done, and it’s a work in progress.”
Other theaters are also working to diversify their audience bases. Portland Center Stage, for example, will present its first sensory-friendly show, a more relaxed performance that benefits people on the autism spectrum or who have sensory processing issues.
More information on the Portland Playhouse’s BIPOC affinity nights can be found at the theater company’s ticketing page.