Minority Voices Theatre

A PROGRAM OF VLT

THEATRE THAT CREATES A SENSE OF BELONGING

MVT, a program of VLT, is designed to build bridges that offer opportunities for members of local minority or marginalized communities to participate in the collaborative art of theatre as actors, writers, directors, designers, and audience members.

Founded in 2017 by VLT members Stan Coleman and Carol Dennis, MVT primarily produces staged readings of plays, which allow those with little theatre experience the chance to learn what it means to create a character, deliver lines with meaning, and to experience the magic of being in a play. This model also allows our local communities the chance to see their stories brought to life on our local stages.

HIGHLIGHTS

MVT’s first year (2017) was a very exciting and illuminating time. Not yet a part of VLT, MVT produced staged readings of three plays: Having Our Say: the Delany Sister’s first 100 years, Vita & Virginia, and Now I Am Your Neighbor. MVT helped sponsor two community events: DisOrient Film Festival and Eugene Children’s Film Festival, and offered a scholarship to a summer film/animation camp to a young person of color through the Academic Achievement Center Foundation.

At the end of 2017, VLT and MVT decided to join forces, offering VLT an active community outreach tool, and giving MVT a home, a 501(c)3 for fund raising, and the support of one of the oldest continuously running community theatres in the country. VLT has been producing plays in Eugene, Oregon every year since March, 1929!

Charmaine Coleman and Arbrella Luvert in Having Our Say: the Delany Sister’s first 100 years

In April 2018, MVT partnered with Trans*Ponder to present a staged reading of Transfigurations – a 1998 play that explores the lives of Oregonians who identify as transgender. And in the same event, we introduced the first annual Trans Monologues, bringing up-to-date the stories and experiences of our local Transgender/Gender non-conforming community.

In the fall of 2019, MVT, VLT, and the University of Oregon joined together to present a full-scale production of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World by Yussef El Guindi, directed by Michael Malek Najjar.

In 2019 MVT also presented its first Spanish language play, La Gringa by Carmen Rivera, and its first commissioned work, At Winter’s Edge by local playwright Rachael Carnes, creating a unique multicultural holiday play.

Then, in the midst of the Covid-19 shutdowns, MVT shifted to digital productions through VLT’s Virtual Little Theatre (VLT’s YouTube channel) starting with Marty Kingsbury’s tender love story, The Scent of Tulips, followed by several original theatrical pieces specifically created for online platforms, and an audio book memoir – The Antiquarian Bookseller.

Salmon Is Everything – 2022
MVT in partnership with illioo Native Theatre
Featuring Marta Lu Clifford
(Chinook, Cree, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde)
Photo Credit: Amiran White

Stories From The Helix – 2023
MVT in partnership with Wordcrafters in Eugene
Steph Young with Ballet Folklorico Colibri
Photo Credit: Teryani Riggs

As the theatre reopened in 2022-23, MVT collaborated with illioo Native Theatre to produce Salmon Is Everything by Theresa May in collaboration with the Klamath Theatre Project, and staged readings of Hattie’s Vote by Dorothy Velasco, and Nat Turner’s Last Struggle: Finding His Way Home by P. A. Wray.

In 2023-24, MVT again collaborated with illioo Native Theatre for the production of The Woman Who was a Red Deer Dressed for the Deer Dance by Diane Glancy, and with Wordcrafters in Eugene for Stories from the Helix.

In all this time, approximately 3000 people have come to see MVT productions. By sharing donations and revenue from ticket sales with community partners, MVT has raised approximately $4500 for local non-profits: NAACP of Lane County, Lane Community College Multi-Cultural Center, Soromundi: Lesbian Chorus of Eugene, Community Alliance of Lane County, Centro Latino Americano, the Islamic Community Center of Lane County, Trans*Ponder, the UO Muslim Student Union, illioo Native Theatre, and Wordcrafters in Eugene.

MOVING FORWARD

Going forward, MVT will be looking for opportunities to support performing arts projects in Lane County that uplift the cultures and stories too often left invisible to the larger community. MVT is looking to provide financial support through sponsorship, as well as practical support through mentoring in the areas of producing and promoting.

To contact us and to get on our email list, email us at MVT@theVLT.com.