From opening nights to the final curtain calls, UNC undergraduate theater is full of lively singing, dramatic acting and hardworking students, but some students say it appears to be lacking one thing: diversity.
A new group has started on campus called the Black Arts Theatre Company, a subgroup of the Black Student Movement. The group seeks to tackle this overarching issue of diversity in student theater, as well as to make a space where all students feel supported and comfortable in theater.
At UNC, non-professional theater companies are the main way students get theatrical experience. These groups include Company Carolina, LAB! Theatre and Pauper Players, where auditions are open to every student.
However, sophomore Aubree Dixon, Black Arts Theatre Company director of publicity, said accessibility is an issue in theater.
“Drama doesn't feel accessible to people of color a lot of the time,” Dixon said. “Because a lot of the bigger shows that people know, like 'Wicked' or 'Les Mis.' There’s not really a space.”
Dramatic Arts Director of Undergraduate Production David Navalinsky said this is an issue he hopes can be resolved in the near future.
“It’s not where it should be, but it’s not terrible," Navalinsky said. "But when you look at the people who come out to auditions, it’s primarily white students."
But Navalinsky said he knows that there are students inside and outside of the drama department who want to act professionally.
“I know there are places where we need to fill some voids, and so I do my best to reach out to as diverse a pool of applicants as I can,” Navalinsky said.