POMPEII!! - "Voice of Dallas" Talkback Series

One way to word the intention of our "integrated dramaturgy" Bly Grant project is that we want to be able to read our community the same way we read a play.  We should know who the key players are, understand every character's needs, attempt to meet them by the end of our work, and give them a chance to speak at the right moments.  We had the perfect opportunity to bring our community into our theatre during the run of our world premiere vaudeville-musical, POMPEII!!. 

The Americanized word "vaudeville" can be traced to French roots meaning "voice of the city" or "worth of the city."  In POMPEII!! we see various voices - a scientist, immigrants, African-Americans, women, and the literal messengers of the Gods - ignored as they try to relay an important message, a choice that ultimately destroys their civilization. We decided not to follow suit and instead bring in important Dallas community leaders to confront us with the information we need to stop our own wheel from spinning on and on into oblivion.  Pulling on themes from the play, we decided to have a "Voice of Dallas Arts" and a "Voice of Dallas Ecology" panel.  

Our thoughtful, engaged, informative speakers gave us some great insight into the challenges within our community, and specific action items we can follow to keep our city vibrant and healthy.  I am grateful to our panelists for spending time with us, and in case you missed them, have included their action steps, and links (bolded) to their resources and work below. 

Panelists: Kristin Colaneri - Artist/Educator/Producer
                Steph Garrett - Actor and Clown
                Jonathan Norton - Playwright
                Darryl Ratcliff - Artist and Poet, Co-Founder of Ash Studios, Creating Our Future, and Michelada Think Tank
Action Items: 
- Register to vote, and vote in local elections for candidates and initiatives that support the arts
- Donate to organizations where you can
- Be vocal about organizations and artists you love - spreading the word helps our community leaders know that Dallasites value the arts!
- Connect big businesses and possible donors with organizations
- Take community surveys, such as those provided by the Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of Dallas, and let them know you value the arts.  These surveys directly impact funding!
- Participate in local artist "community conversations" or "think tanks"

Resources and Events:
A Music Think Tank will happen on May 21
The website for the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs 
Kitchen Dog's annual fundraiser, Hooch and Pooch
Stay updated with all local theater events through the D-FW Theater Facebook group


Panelists: Catherine Cuellar - Board Member, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
                 Evelyn Mayo - Head of the PM Committee, Downwinders at Risk
                 Bud Melton - Special Projects Manager, Halff Associates, Inc.
                 Samuel Stiles - Executive Director of the Dallas Parks Foundation

Action Items:
- Register to vote, and vote in local elections for candidates and initiatives that support the environment and parks
- Use public parks and urban trails more often. The more we use them, the more incentive there is for government funding. 
- Consider carpooling, using public transportation, or biking or walking to your destination
- Voice your opinion about upcoming legislation, and your support of green initiatives
- Learn the history of Dallas environmental fights to get your own ideas about what can change and how to change it

Resources and Events:
- Downwinders at Risk has an upcoming fundraiser to purchase an air quality monitor for Joppa, Dallas's only remaining Freedman's Township.
- Provide feedback on Mobility 2045, a piece of legislature outlining plans for urban trails through 2045. This draft features major cuts to funding for some of Dallas's most successful green programs.
- Here's a map of all the trails in Dallas
- Here's a comprehensive list of Dallas bike trails

If you have any additional resources to add to this list, would like more information, or if you have an idea about how Kitchen Dog can serve these areas, feel free to contact me at Haley@kitchendogtheater.org!