"When did you first see a trans character in performance?" "Why is there such a lack of inclusion of trans performers in theatre?" "How do we hold institutions who have failed and done harm accountable?" "How can we grow?"
On this episode, I interview singer, actress, producer, director, writer, activist, and winner of the Human Rights Campaign Visibility award in January of 2020, Aneesh Sheth (she/her). Aneesh shares how her first exposure to queerness was when a sari (a garment from the Indian subcontinent traditionally worn by women) was put on her at a young age, and she recalls feeling very comfortable in it. She also shares how her exposure to Hijra culture made an impression on her as to how society viewed those outside of the gender binary. It was then through her journey of working on the role of Sweetie in the musical Bombay Dreams that she learned about her own gender identity and also how trans characters and actors were viewed in theatrical spaces. Aneesh and I discuss how the theatre has progressed in terms of inclusion, how we can hold institutions accountable for making sure to do this work, the impact this past year has had on artists, and advice for trans and gender non-conforming artists who feel stifled by the inaccessible theatrical industry.
We also discuss:
How trans characters have developed in theatre and why there is such little progressHow to be inclusive of trans, gender non-conforming, actors with disabilities, and many other minorities in revivals of shows.How to successfully develop shows with trans characters in them.The issue of accessibility in theatre...and much more.
Resources for Further Learning:
An Open Letter: A Statement to the Public Theatre by Aneesh Sheth
Aneesh Sheth receives HRC's Visibility Award
Organization of the Week: The Next Generation Project
Show Produced by Nick Eibler
Co-Produced/Edited by Addison McKissack
Theme Song written by Matt Gregory, Colin Egan, and Mike Hubbard
Produced by Colin Egan and Mike Hubbard
Logo Design by David Pavón