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Theater as a Tool for Moral Reasoning

May 26, 2020
CTC: Theater as a Tool for Moral Reasoning

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to intentionally create inclusive communities through the power of theater with a focus on capacity building and spiritual empowerment.

With the objective to bridge the divide, to raise consciousness, and break down the roots of racism and bigotry we will discuss opportunities for using theater as a tool for healing within a spiritual perspective. Exploring the power of theater as a tool for moral reasoning, we will discuss the Children’s Theater Company’sapproach to creating a theatrical experience that not only bears witness to humanities’ past, but that through an authentic interaction with audiences, we can create a profound community of listeners and change agents. We will review audience engagement tools and how audience-driven post-show workshops, within safe spaces, can reveal how dialogue and empathy are inextricably linked.

The Children’s Theater Company has a social-justice imperative at its core. By developing musicals that cultivate an understanding of the personal, cultural and spiritual forces that shape society, CTC’s original musicals explore the theater’s power to impact diversity, to develop empathy and compassion for the human condition, and to allow us to learn from lives we’ve never lived. The Children’s Theater Company is rooted in the belief that through the magic of theater youth can become the voices of positive change and agents of healing in their communities.

List of Books (and a website) shared by CTC of NY

Rebekah Gienapp’s
You’ll find on this website Rebekah’s book entitled “How to Raise Anti-racist Kids,” and other resources for white people, especially parents and other educators.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome —Dr. Joy Degruy

White Fragility —Robin De Angelo

White Like Me —Time Wise

How To Be An Antiracist —Ibram X. Kendi

Ouch That Stereotype Hurts —Leslie Aguilar

Message from CTC and Survey Invitation

“Thank you so much for attending our Theater As a Tool For Moral Reasoning Webinar hosted by the Wilmette Institute. Community engagement and participant feedback is an integral part of our company practices so we would greatly appreciate it if you participated in a brief survey about your webinar experience. As a token of our appreciation, you will have access to free downloadable music from our award-winning show Henry Box Brown: A Musical journey. You will also have the option to opt-in or opt-out of our newsletter to receive updates on our plans. Thank you for your time.”

CTC Survey Link



Mehr Mansuri, Producer, Writer, Co-Composer

Mehr Mansuri is the Artistic Director of the award-winning Children’s Theatre Company of New York, a non-profit 501c3 organization, founded in 1999. She is also the writer of over 15 original musicals for the Company including the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival winner, Henry Box Brown: A Musical Journey (now developed for adult audiences)- where it garnered a Best Musical Nomination for 2019 and 2018. She has been an NEA recipient (National Endowment for the Arts) and New York State Council on the Arts, from 2007 to the present–awarded for her original and musical adaptations. Broadway Producer, Cameron Mackintosh, presented a gift on behalf of his film production of Les Miserables, awarded to Ms. Mansuri for her collection of educational musicals serving over 4000 underserved youth populations; Her adaptation and staging of Dorothy Marcic’s, Respect: a Musical History of Women- designated her a two-time Honoree at the UN Women’s Summit with Hilary Clinton and Peggy Kerry. She has received many other honors and awards. Raised in the UK, due to her family’s tumultuous escape from her native Iran, Mansuri began her career in the U.S. as a classically trained actress in Shakespeare Festivals (Park City, Utah & Vail Colorado) by acclaimed Shakespearean author and director, Robert Cohen. As an actress Mehr won critical acclaim for British hits: Red Devils and Road (Best Acting in Backstage/Dramalogue Magazines) and audiobooks for Penguin Audio. She has served on the jury for the National Endowment for the Arts in Theater / Musical Theater. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) where she trained rigorously with innovative Polish theatre director and theorist, Jerzey Growtowski, whose approaches to acting, training and theatrical production have significantly influenced theatre today.


Nancy Nelson-Ewing, Education Director/Creative Consultant

Nancy Nelson-Ewing debuted on Broadway creating the role of Nikki Kay Kane in the Tony nominated musical Runaways, followed by featured role in open Admissions as well as the replacement for Angela Bassette in August Wilson’s Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Nan-Lynn has been a principle performer in many television commercials, industrials films, live events, as well as nighttime and daytime episodic television, including Vikki on the PBS children’s series: The Bloodhound Gang; NBC’s Ensemble cast feature: Hot Hero Sandwich; Vivienne Roxbury-Barnes on All My Children; and several principal features on Law and Order, The Cosby Show and more. Most recently she was a co-star: as Mavis in Patrick Wang’s, critically acclaimed film: A Bread Factory; Dr. Lind in the recently released film: The Unintended. As a playwright: Nan-Lynn Nelson (aka N.N.Ewing) has been a finalist in the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn international women’s playwriting contest in London for her play: Leaving Watermaine. She was also chosen by The Crossroads Theatre for their Genesis Project of New African American Voices in Theatre where she developed Leaving Watermaine. Her play: Glory! enjoyed a World Premier at the iconic Dixon Place 2019, NYC. Nancy is currently Education Director/Creative Consultant for The Children’s Theatre Co. in NYC. She has been program developer and director of Performing Arts Programming for children and youth, which focus on character development and academic achievement. Theatre Arts instructor at The Art Effect, 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Drama.


Nia Fraser

Nia Fraser currently serves as a Communications and Outreach Coordinator for CTC in NYC. Nia recently graduated with a BA in Marketing from Temple University and is a CTC alumna herself. She was an ensemble member from age 6-14. During her time with CTC she has performed at the United Nations, and has appeared on NY1 and Good Morning America. Nia has performed in over 15 of CTC’s musical productions and was an original cast member of Henry Box Brown.  Her love of theater and desire to use art as a mechanism of social change has followed her into adulthood and led her back to her CTC family.

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