As we get ready to return to adjudicating for the Helen Hayes Awards, the forty volunteer Helen Hayes judges are participating in a new bias-awareness training program. The training will open up the dialogue about bias to explore art criticism, accountability, and anti-racism. Theatre Washington has hired DC-based theatre-maker Estrellita Beatriz Edwell (starr/e/they) to conduct the three-week training course. It will give the judges time to spend together in reflection about how to approach evaluating performances, plays, and design.
As Estrellita describes it, this course is meant to create a common fluency between the Theatre Washington Judges around bias, accountability, and art criticism through a lens of decolonization, transformative justice, and liberation. Each of the three classes will last approximately 90 minutes and focus primarily on Bias-Aware Art Critique through videos, podcast excerpts, group discussions, and lectures. In addition, the Judges will have required weekly homework and will be encouraged to follow their course workbook for extra curriculum bias-awareness activities, and critique prompts.