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Debra Ann Byrd.

Offscript: Debra Ann Byrd’s Bard

The editors speak to the new artistic director of Southwest Shakespeare in Arizona about claiming the classics for all people everywhere.

Offscript, American Theatre’s flagship podcast for a number of years, is back as a Facebook Live chat with the magazine’s editors and special guests as well as an audio podcast.

On this episode featuring contributing editor Amelia Merrill, we’re joined by Debra Ann Byrd, the new artistic director of Arizona’s Southwest Shakespeare and the founder of Harlem Shakespeare Festival, to talk about the company, the state where it’s located, and the state of classical theatre in general. Byrd, who has performed her one-woman show Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Story at Shakespeare & Co. and Lincoln Center, notes that the field has come a long way from the days when teachers told her she’d never do Shakespeare and should instead go after roles in August Wilson plays, but that theatres still have work to do to make Western classics accessible and relevant to all.

You can download the episode here and watch the original Facebook chat here.

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