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With an estimated ten percent of the population identifying as other than heterosexual, sexual orientation, gender identity, homophobia, and heterosexism are increasingly significant issues of workplace diversity. In recognition of this fact, we created “Ten Percent”, a performance piece addressing the topic. “Ten Percent” uses humor, physical comedy, scenes, and monologues in an informative and entertaining way to explore a myriad of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues. (more...)

Bioraphies


Kendra Elliott
Kendra is a special education teacher for adolescents with social/emotional needs. She also conducts workshops, writes training curriculum, and acts as a behavioral consultant in areas of disability. Kendra graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and has since worked to challenge societies’ “boxes” and biases regarding gender/gender expression. Kendra is a writer, activist, dancer, and athlete. Kendra became involved with That Uppity Theatre Company through a gender exploration piece for their “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Lives” performance piece. Since then, she has been a performer, stage manager, and artistic associate for the DisAbility Project. Kendra is currently writing, directing, and performing in Project Illumination, a theatre project working to shed light on sexual violence against people with disabilities.

 


Joan Lipkin
Joan Lipkin is the Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company. She founded the company to put the principles of cultural diversity into innovative theatrical practice and to promote civic dialogue and related activities. A playwright, director, educator, performer and social activist, her work has been internationally produced. Joan has received numerous awards including a Visionary, the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year, a Frederick H. Laas and the Missouri Arts Award, among others.

 


Greg Matzker
Greg Matzker started with That Uppity Theatre Company with the theatre production of "Ten Percent". He has been involved in theatre for over 20 years and has appeared in over 150 shows and concerts. He has worked with many groups in the St. Louis area such as New Jewish Theatre,  Dramarama, and  the Goldenrod Showboat to name a few. He was also part of the St. Louis Symphony choir for ten years appearing in many landmark concerts such as Leonard Slatkin's farewell concert and Beethoven's Ninth that is still shown on TV coast to coast. Greg is the Artistic Director for Marble Stage Theatre, a community theatre company dedicated to bringing the true "community" theatre back to St. Louis. Greg is also a private voice teacher as well a choreographer for many schools and theatre companies, both amateur and professional.  In Greg's younger days he was given the honor of being Junior Midwest Swing Champion of 1989.

 


Ashley Nanney
Ashley started performing at the age of two and has enjoyed many facets of theatre including performance, stage management, writing, direction, and choreography. Originally from North Carolina, Ashley toured with the Focus Theatre Company as an improvisational actress, performing open ended pieces focused on issues teenagers face, followed by peer discussions. Ashley has appeared in many theatre productions including: Quilters; Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!; Godspell; The Odd Couple; as well as contact and contemporary dance productions. 

A graduate of Maryville University, Ashley has worked with That Uppity Theatre Company for over five years.  She was a performer, stage manager, and Assistant Director with the DisAbility Project, a principle organizer, director and performer with Peace Out, and helped to direct pieces in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Lives.  She also facilitates a number of workshops, including those focused on movement and theatre.  Currently, Ashley is in the process of writing, directing and performing in a theatre project to shed light on sexual violence against people with disabilities known as Project Illumination.

What we are doing...


With an estimated ten percent of the population identifying as other than heterosexual, sexual orientation, gender identity, homophobia, and heterosexism are increasingly significant issues of workplace diversity. In recognition of this fact, the Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board commissioned Uppity to create a performance piece addressing the topic for their annual Gateway to Diversity Conference. The result? “Ten Percent”, a 30-minute theatrical training piece that uses humor, physical comedy, scenes, and monologues in an informative and entertaining way to explore a myriad of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues.

The Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board represents a conglomerate of 82 federal agencies. The mission of the Board is to sustain a federal community environment that promotes the administrative goals, workforce development, and community outreach in the Greater St. Louis Bi-State area. Former Executive Director, Susanne Franza Valdez, contacted Joan Lipkin in the fall of 2005 about developing a new piece. Valdez had invited our DisAbility Project to perform at a previous conference and said that their performance was a highlight. She wanted the company to return and design a performance that was more specifically related to another aspect of diversity--sexual and affectational orientation.

We met with Valdez and members of a programming committee for six months to discuss issues being raised in their individual agencies. Committee members included representatives from the VA Medical Center; Department of Defense, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; and Department of the Air Force. The topic presented numerous challenges. How might this theme be explored in a way that encouraged active listening and increased appreciation for diversity? The audience would include a very diverse crowd, including people with strong moral or religious objections to gender or sexual variance. Committee members offered invaluable insight on the script throughout the piece’s development.

Our new piece, “Ten Percent,” debunks myths, explores historical LGBT achievers and role models, offers personal narratives, and provides definitions of varied identities and workplace etiquette.

Upon receiving outstanding reviews, we were hired to perform and to design and facilitate additional diversity training around the topic for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Our “Ten Percent” ensemble also performed for St. Louis College of Pharmacy and will be traveling to Chicago to do several shows and facilitated discussions for the University of Illinois College of Dentistry.

 

Rave Reviews


Our performances of "Ten Percent" usually include a form of diversity facilitation.  We host conversations, and do exercises. Here is a sampling of written feedback by audiences.  All were submitted anonymously.

If there’s so much pride in one’s sexual orientation, why not express it so others will know, then move on. Don’t keep it secret, but don’t use it as a crutch!

If you get tired on being singled out, why continue with the stereotyping—perpetuating the actions that draw any unwanted treatments?

Felt sorry for what they go through

Made me sad talking about losing job, losing partner, etc.
Deep sympathy for those not able to feel comfortable being who they are!

The skit on his partner dying—got me really thinking about gays with their partner. It brought me feelings of sadness that no one acknowledges situations like that. Their partners are their family. It opened my eyes to something I never thought about before.

I felt bad about how “office talk” is mostly about spouses and how I wouldn’t want anyone, including the GLTB to feel left out or misunderstood.

It’s nice to be educated on the way people other than Heterosexual feel about there sexuality.

Understanding
Sadness
Empathy – wonderful representation of the intimate side of each issue.

The performance highlighted for me the fact that many people suffer from the lack of understanding that is prevalent in society. In theory, we should not see each other any differently as a result of our lifestyle. The fact that this is not true makes me a little sad.

I thought it was interesting that the transgender didn’t relate to being male or female.

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
Office: (314) 534-1454 • Email Us