On Art and Activism

This past spring, DG Treasurer Christine Toy Johnson gathered with Guild members Ifa Bayeza, Mashuq Mashtaq Deen, and Catherine Filloux on Zoom to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences around art and activism. This transcript was edited with the participation of all the panelists.

Four different headshots of four different people collaged together: a Black woman with thick, dark hair; a bald man with a dark beard and wears glasses with dark, rectangular frames, a white woman with dark blond hair, and a woman with straight, dark, long hair and v-neck jacket
Ifa Bayeza, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Catherine Filloux, and Christine Toy Johnson

CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON:  Thank you for coming here together virtually. I’m excited to see all your faces from around the country. Because the impetus for the issue began last June with an event called The Playwright as Activist: Lorraine Hansberry’s Legacy, we wanted to start with this question: Lorraine Hansberry considered her work as a playwright and activist as inseparable. Do you feel the same way? What are your feelings about the intersection of your plays and activism?

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Christine Toy Johnson
Christine Toy Johnson

 is a Tony honored, Obie, and Rosetta LeNoire award winning writer, actor, director, and advocate for inclusion. Proud DG Officer, Chair of the DEIA Committee, host of “The Dramatists Guild presents Talkback” podcast. Details: www.christinetoyjohnson.com Twitter/Insta: @CToyJ

Ifa Bayeza
Ifa Bayeza

 is an award-winning theatre artist and educator. Works include String Theory, Welcome to Wandaland, Kid Zero, and The Till Trilogy (The Ballad of Emmett Till, That Summer in Sumner, and Benevolence), which made its world premiere in rotating repertory at Mosaic Theatre Company of DC in October 2022.

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen
Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

is the author of Flood, The Empty Place, The Betterment Society, The Shaking Earth, and Draw The Circle. He is the winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Drama and is a PWC Core Writer. www.mashuqmushtaqdeen.com

Catherine Fillioux

 is a French American award-winning playwright and librettist who has traveled to conflict areas for three decades writing plays that address human rights. She has four produced operas (Orlando won the 2022 Grawemeyer Award) and is an activist. Her new play How to Eat an Orange premieres at La MaMa in New York City next season. catherinefilloux.com