“I’m okay with being different. I celebrate it, even in a society that often tells me I don’t matter. As isolating as it can feel, however, when I allow myself to engage the empathy I ask others to show me, I realize something. Everyone has felt different. Everyone has felt strange because of something that makes them different.”
Theatre-Based Diversity Awareness
Abu Ansari was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, and is a performer and facilitator who splits his time between Chicago and London. He has been a part of Chicago’s theatre community for 20 years with notable appearances in To Kill a Mockingbird, Superior Donuts, and the Nutcracker. During that time, he has also been active in socially engaged and participatory theatre forums. He worked as a facilitator and performer with GTC Dramatic Dialogues and Imagination Theater with participants of all ages to investigate topics such as substance abuse, conflict resolution, sexual assault, and diversity and inclusion awareness.
He approaches diversity and inclusion awareness training through theatre-based and roleplay activities that require active involvement in lieu of single-sided lecturing. Through investigating real-world scenarios, participants unpack their own biases and practice the challenging but necessary discourse on the topic.
As a teaching artist and board member of Chicago’s Voice of the City, Abu worked with young people to devise original performances based on personal and imagined stories, and he co-produced Switch, a monthly partner dancing event for Chicago’s LGBTQ+ communities. Abu has recently co-founded the Agitate Collective in London, which will use theatre to encourage young people to interrogate one-sided historical narratives taught in schools.
Abu received an MA in applied theatre from Goldsmiths University in London. He has been accepted (for fall 2021) in the PhD in applied theatre programs at both Queen Mary University of London and the University of Manchester, where he aims to develop theatre-based methods for addressing loneliness in queer black communities.
The Diversity Card
A workshop is designed to heighten awareness of diversity, inclusion, and equity matters through active participation in reflective group exercises.
Other Great Programs on Diversity and Inclusion
Other Great Theatre-Based Speakers