'First Person: Diverse Student Stories' to be staged Feb. 23 and 24 in the Old Main Theatre

“First Person: Diverse Student Stories,” a play in the words of Western Washington University students told from the perspective of students of color, differing abilities, ethnicities and gender identities, will be performed at 3:30 – 5 p.m. and 7:30 – 9 p.m., both Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday Feb. 24, 2017 in Old Main Theatre on the Campus of WWU.

“First Person: Diverse Student Stories,” is a collection of monologues generated from interviews with WWU students conducted by Assistant Professor of Journalism Maria McLeod, who turned the interviews into a work of documentary theatre.

Narratives include stories of coming of age in a post-9/11 era as a child of Middle Eastern refugees, a Native American freshman student who has left a familiar life on the reservation to enter the unfamiliar of college life, and a working-class student and daughter of immigrants who learns the meaning of money on a senior trip to Las Vegas. Other experiences include trying to explain one’s gender identity to parents, being racially and/or ethnically profiled, and navigating the educational system as a deaf person in a hearing world.

The play is directed by WWU alumna Karee Wardrop.  All four performances will be ASL interpreted.

“This play is about speaking the truth of one’s experience,” McLeod said. “Given the current political climate, these student narratives are at the core of our national and international dialogue and debate. Their stories couldn’t be more timely.”

This production of “First Person” marks the third time McLeod and Wardrop have teamed up for a documentary-theatre production. Wardrop directed the first production of “First Person” in 2105 to full houses in PACs DUG theatre.  In 2012-13, Wardrop directed another piece by McLeod, also derived from interviews, “Body Talk: Sexual Triumphs, Trials and Revelations” performed in Bellingham.

Tickets for “First Person,” which are free but necessary to reserve seats, can be obtained by visiting or calling the WWU Box Office at (360) 650-6146. 

This play was written with support from a Spratlen Diversity and Inclusion Grant, awarded to McLeod, and is produced by WWU’s Campus Equity and Inclusion Forum.