Race in Theater at Harvard and Beyond

The Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players are currently halfway through their run of “The Mikado,” with five performances remaining. The production has engendered protest and conversation on campus about yellowface, censorship, appropriation, and racial issues in theater.

The HRDC Board strongly supports community discussion about race and inclusivity in theater. We were heartened by the number of people who attended our panel discussion on race in the Harvard theater community a few weeks ago, and we hope members of the HRDC community will join us at our open meeting this coming Monday the 7th at 7pm to vote on amendments to our Constitution, and particularly on the proposed diversity, inclusion, and color-conscious casting amendment.

We encourage you to read about the show and the controversy by following the links below.

The Harvard Foundation is hosting an event tomorrow evening “to reflect on the current production of The Mikado, talk about your personal experiences, or engage in a larger discussion of representation and performance.” More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1801328926773886/

Information about the production can be found at the HRG&SP website, here: https://hrgsp.org/happening-now

Information about screenings, teach-ins, and talk-backs scheduled by the HRG&SP can be found here: https://hrgsp.org/happening-now/mikado-events-2016/

Information about the protest that was held at the opening night performance of the Mikado can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1184428731617173/

Articles about this production of “The Mikado”:

Office for the Arts at Harvard, Arts Blog: “‘The Mikado in rehab,” 25 Oct. 2016. http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/blog/The-Mikado-in-rehab

The Harvard Crimson: “The Mask in the Curtain: Against Yellowface at Harvard,” 26 Oct. 2016.http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/10/26/-against-yellowface-at-harvard/

The Harvard Crimson: “The Mikado – Past & Present,” 26 Oct. 2016. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/10/26/zhou-mikado-past-present/

PostIt Comix: “Erasure + the Mikado,” 26 Oct. 2016. https://hcwc.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/postit-comix-2-erasure-the-mikado/

Dis-Oriented: “Three More Days,” 26 Oct. 2016. http://us14.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6b2af56b24de8dd4d8875aad2&id=fc0b04448f&e=a4153d1269

The Harvard Crimson: “Students to Protest ‘Mikado’ For Lack of Engagement With Controversial Past,” 27 Oct. 2016. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/10/27/students-protest-mikado-controversy/

The Harvard Crimson: “‘Mikado’ Protesters Call to Shut Down Production,” 28 Oct. 2016. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/10/28/criticism-sharpened-against-mikado/

NBC News: “Harvard ‘Mikado’ Production Divides Opinions As Students Take On Controversial Opera,” 28 Oct. 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/harvard-mikado-production-divides-opinions-students-take-controversial-opera-n674656

The Harvard Crimson: ”Some Students Protest ‘The Mikado,’ Sparking Dialogue Around Race,” 31 Oct. 2016. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/10/31/students-protest-mikado-opening-night/

The Harvard Crimson: “‘Mikado’ Struggles to Reckon with Racism, Technical Difficulties,” 1 Nov. 2016. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/11/1/mikado-review/

HRG&SP: “Mikado Opening”, 2 Nov. 2016. https://hrgsp.org/2016/11/02/mikado-opening/#more-18842

HRG&SP: “Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ,” 3 Nov. 2016. https://hrgsp.org/2016/11/03/mikado-2016-historical-note-faq/

Note from HRG&SP: “We distributed this document at the box office during the run of the show. Some of the responses to the FAQ have been revised slightly in order to clarify and enrich my original answers, which were written in haste before opening.”

Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ

Reviews of previous productions of “The Mikado” at Harvard:

“Soaring Arias Propel ‘The Mikado’,” 6 Nov. 2012. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/11/6/hgs-the-mikado-2012/

“Orientalism and ‘The Mikado’,” 4 Dec. 2007. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2007/12/4/orientalism-and-the-mikado-this-weekend/

“Complex? No Problem For G & S,” 10 Dec. 1992. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1992/12/10/complex-no-problem-for-g-/?page=single

“Trouble in Tipitu,” 11 Dec. 1974. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1974/12/11/trouble-in-titipu-pbgbilbert-and-sullivan/

“Operettas The Mikado at Agassiz Theatre April 17-19; 23-25,” 18 Apr. 1970.https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1970/4/18/operettas-the-mikado-at-agassiz-theatre/

“The Mikado,” 20 Apr. 1956. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1956/4/20/the-mikado-pin-a-bright-and/