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Talking Back 

Season 1

A six-part web series that reveals the growing movement for justice in the theatre field.


About Talking Back Season 1

Hosted by artEquity Founder and Executive Director, Carmen Morgan, this six-part web series brings artEquity's practice of facilitating hard and necessary conversations to a broader audience. The curtain is pulled back and viewers gain insight into the activism and progress that has been achieved by theatre practitioners across the field. Through engagement with founding Artistic Directors, newly appointed leaders, and activists who have operated at all levels of leadership in arts organizations across the US, we learn what it takes to transform, not just an institution, but an entire field.

Talking Back was filmed in September of 2019, before the first case of COVID 19 was recorded and prior to the global uprisings in 2020, which were in response to the ongoing violence and murder of Black people by police officers and civilians in the United States and abroad.


This series was created and produced by Sharifa Johka. Funding for the project was provided by Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

For more information, please see our press release.


BIPOC Founders and Artistic Directors, helming BIPOC institutions, discuss their institution’s origins, political convictions, artistic achievements, and the hypocrisy of equity trends.

With (left to right): Wren T Brown, Julia Cho, Carmen Morgan, Torange Yeghiazarian, and José Luis Valenzuela.


BIPOC Artistic Directors, helming predominantly White institutions, discuss balancing their new positions of power within organizations that continue to struggle with structural racism.

With (left to right): Eric Ting, Hana Sharif, Carmen Morgan, Jacob G. Padrón, and Nataki Garrett.


BIPOC leaders, helming BIPOC institutions and BIPOC leaders of white institutions gather to discuss radical partnerships.

With (left to right, bottom to top): Jacob G. Padrón, Nataki Garrett, Torange Yeghiazarian, Julia Cho, Carmen Morgan, José Luis Valenzuela, Wren T. Brown, Hana Sharif, and Eric Ting.


BIPOC leaders in US theatre discuss the common stressors and fatigue experienced by BIPOC artists and administrators who work with and in predominantly white institutions.

With (left to right): Gabriel Barrera, Seena Hodges, Carmen Morgan, Mica Cole, and Leslie Ishii.


White leaders in US theatre discuss the challenge of white fragility and the responsibility of white people to demonstrate their antiracist values with actions.

With (left to right): Michael Robertson, SK Kerastas, Carmen Morgan, and Merilee Barrera.


Leaders across US theatre discuss their individual contributions to diversify the field.

With (left to right): Tirzah Tyler, Dafina McMillan, David Stewart, Carmen Morgan, Rebecca Novick, and Evren Odcikin


an artEquity Production

Created and Produced by
Sharifa Johka

Recorded and Edited by
DVR Productions

Consulting Producer
Carmen Morgan

Carmen Morgan

Production Coordinators
Christina Gomes
Michael Robertson

Production Assistant
Carmen Samuel

Camera Operators
Sean Daniels
Kesha Daniels
Vince Madero
Gabe Kimpson
Daniel Button

Sean Daniels

Mecca Dickerson

Rayna Brooks Lott
Sekai Natural Hair Gallery

Original Music
Josh Horvath

Sound Editing & Mixing
Josh Horvath
Sean Daniels

artEquity Staff
Alexis Green
Carmen Morgan
Michael Robertson
Carmen Samuel
Selene Santiago

Olivia George
Vivian Holtzman (Phosphene)
Henry Willette (Phosphene)

Closed Captioning
Benajah Cobb
Amy Miller

Additional Camera and Editing

(episode one introduction)
Andrew Vasquez

Special Thanks
Anthony Harden
Tara Kayton
Eoin Donnelly
Mohammad Allam

This web series was produced with the support of Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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