SFA Theatre Department brings diversity center stage

SFA Theatre Department brings diversity center stage

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - ABC's Viola Davis made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series. In her acceptance speech, she shinned a light on the lack of roles for woman of color in the industry. Bringing awareness to diversity on the stage, TV and film.

The director of Stephen F. Austin's Theater Department said diversity is something they are working to improve.

"Let me tell you something, the only thing that separates woman of color from everyone else is opportunity," Davis said during the Emmy award show.

Davis' speech nearly broke the Internet. Davis quickly became a trending topic after making history at this year's Emmys. Her speechis speaking volumes to one young inspiring actress, who at one point felt it was almost impossible to be a leading lady.

"It used to discourage me at first, but then at the same time it still shows that you can do anything if you really want to," said Jonee Lewis, an SFA theater student said.

"I'm excited about the future," said Scott Shattuck, SFA's director of theater. "I think we've made steady progress but not enough with regards to diversity."

This is one thing some students felt skeptical about when coming to SFA.

"One of my biggest concerns coming to a primarily white institution was, will there be roles for putting black people on stage?"said Dominique Rider, an SFA theater student said. " I wondered will this be something accessible to me, or will I be stuck in student production?"

That worry is no more, Rider will be starring as Macbeth in the upcoming school production. This is one way he feels the school is incorporating a more diverse cast.

"I think everyone is pretty open to the idea and I think everyone likes the idea it's just the matter of doing it," Rider said.

"The faculty has committed to the idea of incorporating a play that will emphasis diversity," Shattuck said.

Shows like "Fresh Off the Boat," "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Blackish" gives hope to young actors and actress about their future in Hollywood.

"I do feel like we are slowly but surely breaking the mold of the traditional type casting," Lewis said.

"All of these shows that are about experiences that we're not used to talking about in America," Rider said. "I think that's a good start. We're not where we should be, and we're not where we could be."

"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," Davis said during the Emmy award show.

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