OHIO’s Tantrum Theater presents Stories of COVID-19 in Athens County Ohio

Published: July 9, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Tantrum Theater, Ohio University’s professional theater company, will present a series of interviews that feature the voices and stories of African American community members in Athens County, broadcasted on WOUB stations starting July 9.

This short-form audio series was created by Distinguished Playwright and Faculty in the School of Theater, Charles Smith, and is produced in coordination by Tantrum Theater and the Racial Equity Coalition of the Athens Foundation. The interviews were edited by Smith with sound recording and production by Steven Leffue.

Smith is a member of the Racial Equity Coalition, whose mission is to highlight the African American presence in Athens County. In response to the pandemic, this task force shifted from its initial focus on events to finding other meaningful ways to continue their work.

Smith began conducting several interviews with members of the local African American community, using his background in storytelling, to create a series of short audio vignettes approximating the local African American and African experience.

“While we began with interviews of African Americans living in Athens County, we have expanded our reach to include Africans as well,” Smith said. “I asked each member of the Racial Equity Coalition who had made a suggestion, to arrange and conduct the interview themselves. I would supply the coalition member with the questions, giving them an outline from which they could work.”

The partnership is a product of Tantrum Theater’s mission to serve its local and regional community and advance underrepresented voices through the theater arts.

The broadcasts will air Thursdays at 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on WOUB.