Explore our rich history of community engagement with this list of past events, or check out our upcoming ones here!
Friday, October 1, 2021 6:00 - 7:15 pm
Over the past decade, more and more institutions have chosen to recognize and respect the Indigenous Peoples who serve as traditional stewards of the land they now occupy through a formal Land Acknowledgement. While a Land Acknowledgement is only a small step in healing centuries-old wounds, it demonstrates the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
To help unveil Olney Theatre’s Land Acknowledgement, we’ve gathered a panel of local experts and Tribal Elders to help us unpack the complex and rich history of the Olney area, from the Piscataway Tribe, through the Sandy Spring Quaker community that abolished slavery in 1777, to this moment. Speakers include Piscataway Elder Natalie Williams and Quaker historian Tom Farquhar of the Sandy Spring Museum.
Watch the video of this event.
Saturday, October 9, 2021 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play reminds us that celebrating Thanksgiving without understanding the violent history beneath it amounts to a second erasure of this country’s Indigenous Peoples. Maryland’s rich and complex Indigenous history encompasses many tribal nations whose names - Assateague, Piscataway, Nanticoke, and more - are all we know of them. Join us for a special Behind-the-Scenes event with E. Keith Colston, Administrative Director of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, to learn about the history of the land that became the State of Maryland on July 4, 1776. The event begins with Native American activist Peter Brooks sharing the Gyun Yuk (“Words Before All Else”), a spiritually uplifting Iroquois address traditionally used to open any public gathering.
Speakers: Peter Brooks, Native American activist; Keith Colston, Administrative Director of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs (MCIA)
Watch the video of this event.
Monday, November 8, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Casting Directors weigh in about what makes a body “beautiful” on stage and screen.
From Hollywood glamour to Disney princesses, western ideas about beauty are inextricably linked to the images we see on our screens and on our stages. Is it possible for these media to help American culture expand its definition of beauty in a more inclusive way, taking into account race, body type and ability? We ask a panel of casting directors from LA, New York and DC to answer the question. Guests include Vickie Thomas from Vickie Thomas Casting (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Detroit, Hidden Figures), Geoff Josselson and Katja Zarolinski from JZ Casting (Broadway, off-Broadway and regional theater), and José Carrasquillo (Director of Artistic Programming at Ford's Theatre). FREE
Thursday, November 11, 2021 5:00pm
Tony-nominee Marcia Milgrom Dodge, who helmed our award-winning production of Once back in 2018-19, is a nationally recognized interpreter of the musical-theater canon. In her words, she “smuggles in” the deeper meaning of classic texts to uncover the burning, contemporary truths beneath them. Artistic Director Jason Loewith interviews Marcia onstage about her career, and how her production of Beauty and the Beast expands the definition of beauty for 2021.
Saturday, November 13, at 5:00 pm
Dancing candlesticks, magic roses, moving teacups… how does a professional theater bring the magic behind Beauty & the Beast to life? We want to show you! So we’re inviting folks of every age to come on stage and see how we do it. Lighting demonstrations, costume and prop displays, scenery moves… our professional production staff leads you on an inspiring tour through the backstage magic. RSVP early; this annual event tends to sell out fast!
Thursday February 10th 2022 at 5:00pm
Prior to opening night Jason sits down with creators A.D.16., Cinco Paul (Lyrics and Music) and Bekah Brunstetter (Book) to talk about the process of creating their new musical.
Saturday February 19th 2022 at 6:00pm
In addition to being the teenaged heroine of A.D. 16, Mary Magdalene is prominent among the few women mentioned in the Christian canonical Gospels and perhaps the most complex. She was present at the Crucifixion, and sent by Jesus to announce his resurrection to the Apostles. Her story provides vital clues about Jesus’ nameless female disciples, and the status of women two thousand years ago. Behind the Scenes brings together a powerhouse panel of Biblical scholars to discuss the intersection of gender, culture and faith through the portrayal of women in the Hebrew and Christian Bible.
Speakers: Reverend Diane Dixon-Proctor (Sharp Street United Methodist Church), Dr. Annalisa Buttici (Georgetown University), and Cantor Stephanie Weishaar (Kol Nefesh).
April 24 - July 16 2022
Hosted as part of our partnership with local community organization, the Sandy Spring Slave Museum, these events were hosted by historian Natalie Williams and gave museum staff a chance to tell stories about the history of our community, focusing on topics like the Underground Railroad, Black Churches in the Area, and Families of Sandy Spring. A visiting Humanities Truck also stopped by our campus several times to collect oral histories from residents of our community.
In conjunction with Mosaic Theatre's production of the Till Trilogy and Reflection Series
September 2, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Who we see on stage, on screen, on the field, or on the court makes a political statement whether we want it to or not, creating the narrative of how we see this story, our country, and ourselves. National Players Tour 73 with a Black ensemble in Much Ado About Nothing helps re-envision who can or should play Shakespeare. Mosaic Theatre’s Till Trilogy is using theatre to continue the conversation begun by Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Halle Berry, or Venus and Serena Williams. Join Olney Theatre Center in collaboration with Mosaic Theatre for a conversation about representation of people of color in the arts and sports, particularly where we are now in shifting this narrative towards accessibility and inclusivity along with special guests Psalmayene 24, Yolanda Stanislaus, and Ariel Elizabeth Davis.
Psalmayene 24, Artist in Residence, Mosaic Theatre,
Yolanda Stanislaus, Director of Professional Growth Systems at Montgomery County Public Schools
Ariel Elizabeth Davis, Director of Communications at the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund and co-founder of The Arts Administrators of Color Network