Crossroads Mission and Goals
Crossroads encourages and explores performances and symposia that address the issues and experiences of underrepresented ethnic peoples in the United States and the experiences of international cultures, including Asia, The Middle East, Africa, Latin American, and the Indigenous Peoples of the World (AMALI). One of Crossroads objectives is to promote the production of AMALI scripts within the School of Theatre and to aid the School of Theatre by building community awareness and participation. Crossroads strives to develop multicultural audiences and artists who embrace and support a multicultural vision and, together, build bridges of better understanding between people of all backgrounds at Illinois State University and in the surrounding community. Another objective is to enrich the educational experiences of students in the School of Theatre and community b y sponsoring visits by guest artists and scholars whose work coincides with the mission of Crossroads. Crossroads promotes the highest standards of artistic and creative excellence and is committed to maintaining a viable and enduring artistic collaboration between Illinois State University and the Bloomington-Normal community.
Crossroads primary goals include:
- To assist in the selection of one production every other season that addresses the issues and experiences of underrepresented U.S. ethnic peoples or global (AMALI) cultures.
- To facilitate, in alternate years, a visiting lecturer, artist, or symposium that addresses Crossroads objectives
- To provide leadership within the School of Theatre for co-curricular programming surrounding each Crossroads production and/or event
- To provide leadership within the School of Theatre that supports local (U.S.) and global diversity in the curriculum
- To assist the School of Theatre in its educational outreach and community outreach efforts
In 2000, Crossroads Theatre was created by theatre faculty member Leslie Sloan Orr to raise the profile of black theatre at Illinois State University and the surrounding communities. When she arrived, Orr gathered support from upper administration, the College of Fine Arts and the School of Theatre and the community.
The first Crossroads production was For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. In 2004, Crossroads invited Regina Taylor, playwright of the musical Crowns, to campus when Orr directed the musical. Another African American scholar/artist, Kathy Perkins, served as the lighting designer for Crowns.
In 2003, with the growing campus minority population of Latino/Hispanic-Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans, Crossroads decided to expand their repertoire to produce works of all minority groups,” Orr said. Crossroads presented Roosters by Milcha Sanchez-Scott, a drama about a Mexican-American family living in the southwest, directed by Janet Wilson. As well as hosting internationally renowned director and Zen arts master Shozo Sato who staged his final academic production, Othello’s Passion, in 2006.
During academic year, 2010-2011, Crossroads Theatre underwent a major change. Instead of producing a play each year, the committee decided to produce a play every other year. During the alternate year, Crossroads will be involved in interdisciplinary programming. For this reason, the name has been changed to The Crossroads Project.
The existence of The Crossroads Project has helped to inspire the introduction of a variety of academic theatre courses that address and incorporate cultural diversity. As Crossroad’s mission statement states, 'Crossroads strives to develop multicultural audiences and artists who embrace a global vision and, together, build bridges of better understanding among people of all backgrounds.”