September 20, 2018
NYU DC Dialogues hosted its first Enter Faith Workshop led by three time Tisch Alumna and founder of Progress Theatre, Dr. Cristal Chanelle Truscott. Enter Faith Workshops initiate from the belief that true cross-community acceptance, healing and transformation take time, persistence, consistency, and start in small gatherings, by building relationships.
Enter Faith uses story circle methodology and arts-inspired techniques as tools for deepening interfaith conversations. Through opening up safer learning and engagement spaces where the concept of faith can enter as the common ground across religious, spiritual, mindfulness and/or intellectual practices. Enter Faith aims to work toward connectivity by examining the intersections diversity offers between cultures, class, gender and spiritual identities.
How might we engage differently in our families, communities, school and work spaces, and society if we shift from understanding diversity as a state of being or interculturality as a concept to engaging both as states of action--something we can actually do?
Enter Faith explores the notion of “rehearsing” spiritual diversity and inclusion as ongoing choices we make and behaviors we nurture through our personal and professional daily interactions, acts of service, and connections with communities.
This introductory “rehearsal” session included discussion and opportunities to broaden/deepen/complicate understandings of faith-related concepts (values, belief, religion, tolerance/acceptance, spirituality, pluralism, etc) and explored/strategized actions for practicing faith-based exchange/inclusion/engagement.
Cristal Chanelle Truscott, PhD, is founder of Progress Theatre — a Houston-based, touring ensemble that uses theatre as anti-racism engagement to encourage social consciousness, cross-community dialogue and cultural awareness.
Cristal is a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, NEFA National Theatre Project, MAP Fund, two National Performance Network Creation Fund grants and The Idea Fund. Her publications include, a chapter on historical performance representations of Muslims in The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, “SoulWork” in Black Acting Methods (Routledge 2016) and PEACHES in TCG’s Plays from the Boom Box Galaxy. As a playwright and director, she creates Neo-Spirituals—or a’capella musicals--using “SoulWork," the theatre-making methodology she developed from generations-old African American performance traditions. As a facilitator, Cristal leads a series of workshops entitled “Enter Faith” and "Rehearsing Diversity" that engage and promote spiritual identity alongside diversity work on race, class and gender. She serves as Senior Arts Advisor for IMAN: Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago and has been an invited speaker at international conferences such as “Future Aesthetics: Hip Hop and Contemporary Performance” funded by the Ford Foundation and “Diversity Dialogues,” lead by the US Embassy to the Netherlands and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. She holds degrees from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at the Experimental Theatre Wing and completed her MA/PhD in the Department of Performance Studies. Cristal has been a guest lecturer and faculty at universities including Spelman College, Columbia University, NYU, San Francisco State University and Prairie View A&M University, where she served as Theatre Program Director and Department Head of Music & Theatre; and abroad at Wits Universsity in South African and Albeda College in the Netherlands. She is currently the 2018-2019 William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor in Community Engaged Practices the Corocan School of Art & Design at George Washington University.