Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 27, 2004

Whitworth Theatre Explores Socio-Economic Discrimination in Spokane
in a Reading, "The Wizdom of SpokOZ"

The Whitworth College Theatre Department in association with VOICES for Opportunity, Income, Childcare, Education and Support will present a stage reading of The Wizdom of SpokOZ, a performance that will take the audience on a journey down the yellow brick road of socio-economic discrimination issues in Spokane.

The reading will take place Sunday, May 2, at 2 p.m. in the Hixson Union Building Multipurpose Room at Whitworth. The performance, which is free and open to the public, is approximately 45 minutes long and will be followed by a discussion session. For more information, please call (509) 868-1737.

The Wizdom of SpokOZ is an original script that was created by Whitworth students, members of VOICES, as well as by Norma Bowles and Cynthia Ruffin, directors of the Fringe Benefits Theatre Company in Los Angeles, Calif.

The script was developed during the week-long Theatre for Social Justice Institute, led by Bowles and Ruffin, that took place at Whitworth in February. During the institute, a group of 30 students and community members met and discussed discrimination in Spokane based on socio-economic status. Over the course of the week, a dedicated core of participants worked on creating images and dialogue that were later transformed into a script that parodies The Wizard of Oz.

"It was important that the group working on the project be as diverse as possible and that we were providing a revealing, eye-opening experience for the audience, rather than just writing about and presenting what we already thought or knew," says Brooke Kiener, an adjunct faculty member in the Whitworth Continuing Studies Department.

The goal of the presentation, and the institute, is to help people understand that discrimination exists at all levels of the socio-economic strata, and that the first step toward unity is learning about the "other side." The institute was funded primarily by a Murdock grant and Whitworth's Speakers & Artists Series. For more information on VOICES, contact Cathy McGinty at (509) 326-4135.

Contacts:

Brooke Kiener, adjunct faculty, Continuing Studies Department, Whitworth College, (509) 868-1737 or bkiener@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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