roots were planted by A Real Read (www.arealread.org
), Chicago's African American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered performance ensemble. Byron Stewart founded A Real Read in 1996 by assembling a collection of local artists, bringing to the stage original works of poetry and prose; committed to giving a voice to an often overlooked community; presenting themes that emerge from our culture's silenced edges that are uncompromisingly African American, uncompromisingly lesbian, gay and transgender, and yet remarkably universal. Along with its track record of successful local productions, A Real Read has also toured nationally, winning awards for both performance and community service.
In June of 2000, a vice president from Northern Trust attended one of A Real Read's local performances and saw great potential for the ensemble to work as a learning tool for diversity initiatives in their company. As the Vice President of Human Resources at Northern Trust, he had conducted many diversity training initiatives in the past and now realized that theater could provide a powerful awareness experience for employees. After a meeting between A Real Read and this financial institution, it soon became clear that a partnership between them would be a productive match. This union would allow A Real Read to continue to entertain and educate audiences, while affording the business sector a new and interesting diversity-training tool. Thus, Dramatic Diversity
Byron Stewart (see bio), a Howard University graduate in Drama and professional actor, director, and acting teacher, met Brian Gregg (see bio), a Northwestern University graduate in Economics and consultant with Bain & Company, at a local theater studio. The two discussed the possibility of creating a new theatrical entity that would focus on diversity issues in the business community, true to the suggestion of the audience member. Soon after, Dramatic Diversity was formed, uniting the passions of both creators: "Show" and "Business". Indeed, Dramatic Diversity combines a real understanding of the ever-changing business community with the dedication to diversity of A Real Read to create a persuasive and entertaining learning experience.