September 17, 2018
NYU DC Dialogues hosted an interactive, performative artist talk and discussion with Dr. Cristal Chanelle Truscott, three time Tisch Alumna, on using theatre as social movement and community engagement to challenge stereotypes and "Rehearse Diversity;" which featured live a'capella music and theatrical performance excerpts from the touring ensemble, Progress Theatre.
SoulWork seeks to create heightened levels of emotional sincerity, visceral response, and social and civic power in artistic expression. Created by Dr. Cristal Chanelle Truscott from generations-old principles of social justice rooted in African American performance traditions and aesthetics, SoulWork attracts performers and generative artists across genre interested in connecting communities across race, class, gender and spiritual identity.
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.