In May, we sat down with six notable Twin Cities artists (bios below) who are know both for the quality of their work and the quality of their work in communities.

Today's ten minute excerpt specifically addresses what it means to be a black actor in a European-centric tradition as well as how these artists found their voice for advocacy. We thought this was an especially relevant section of the conversation to share this week.

Note that in an earlier portion of the conversation (to be published later) Carolyn Levy explained that she was told as a theater student that she had to choose between being a theater artist or being a social activist. The artists who speak in this section are sometimes refering to that false dichotomy.

Stay tuned for more of this incredible conversation in the coming weeks.

H. Adam Harris is a local professional actor with recent credits at The History Theatre, Penumbra Theatre Company, and The Children's Theatre Company. He is the Associate Director of Programming at Penumbra Theatre Company; a resident teaching artist with the Guthrie Theater and the Children’s Theatre Company, and faculty at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.

Kurt Kwan is an Actor and works at Pillsbury House Theatre.

Carolyn Levy is a theatre director and a professor at Hamline University. Her freelance life includes work with Penumbra, Theatre Unbound and Wonderlust. At Hamline, she directs Making Waves, the Hamline Social Justice Theatre Troupe and she teaches classes including Acting, Directing, Theatre and Social Change, as well as a Women's Studies class titled "Living in a Rape Culture: What Are We Going to Do About It?"   She also is a volunteer advocate at SOS- the rape crisis center of Ramsey County.

Chris Lutter-Gardella is a designer, inventor, theater-maker and community educator whose work revolves around the design, construction and performance of puppets, masks, props, costumes, unique theatrical inventions, kinetic-sets and sculptural installations. He produces his art predominately from waste-stream materials, exploring the unique potentials inherent in the material.

An actor, director and educator, Jeffrey Meanza began his tenure at the Guthrie Theater as Associate Artistic Director in the summer of 2015. He joined Joseph Haj as part of the new leadership for the theater after having spent 8 years working with Haj at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC. In his role at the Guthrie he oversees the Artistic Department which includes Education and Community Engagement.

Sha Cage is a performer, writer and creator of new work. Her performance and work has taken her across the U.S, to South Africa, England, France, the Netherlands, Croatia, Mali, and Canada. She is a co-founder of Mama Mosaic Theater (for Women), a recipient of a Regional Emmy and an Ivey Award, a McKnight Fellowship and a distinguished Fox/TCG Fellowship. She’s been named one of the leading artists of her generation.