Cancel IU Theatre's Production of Asylum Anguish

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The Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance plans to produce a staged reading of Asylum Anguish: Stories from the Border (developed, written, and directed by Jane Page and Gavin Cameron-Webb). Here is the description of the show:

"Asylum Anguish is a dramatic event that offers six powerful stories from refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The stories were shared directly and based on the testimony of asylum seekers who have been in ICE custody in Orange County, California. Developed, written and directed by Jane Page and Gavin Cameron-Webb, and performed by actors from IU Theatre & Dance, this intimate staged reading is a unique opportunity to experience the personal stories of asylum seekers. These stories are true and are shared with permission of those individuals.

Asylum Anguish is produced as part of the IU 2020 Fall Themester Series, Democracy." (

The production calls for several race- and gender-specific roles. The IU Theatre student body simply does not reflect the needs of these roles. Therefore, the department called back students who did not fit the race, ethnicity, or gender identity of these roles. With the callbacks, a letter was sent with the following message:

"Unfortunately, we find ourselves unable to cast Asylum Anguish as written. In order to arrive at a cast, we would like for the casting to reflect the fact that the refugee and immigration crisis is worldwide and an urgent global problem. Therefore, we will seek to cast actors who can, by their very presence, emphasize this. In practice this means, that ethnic authenticity will not be a principal factor in casting, though diversity will be. It's important to remember that the production takes the form of a staged reading in which the actors present, rather than act out, the asylum seekers’ stories."

By signing this petition, you can help with the necessary cancellation of this production at Indiana University. Through the callbacks, harm has already been done to many students; particularly BIPOC students and trans & non-binary people.