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Kevin Jones, co-founder of the August Wilson Red Door Project.
By The Skanner News
Published: 24 April 2019

The August Wilson Red Door Project will premier The Evolve Experience directed by Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Kevin Jones, on May 18, 2019. The Evolve Experience focuses on the complexity of racial profiling from individual, community, and law enforcement perspectives. The show has a multi-faceted development history that includes investments in unanticipated relationships and theatre performed in unexpected places.

For the past two years, The August Wilson Red Door Project has been building a relationship with members of the Portland Police Bureau—stemming from a police captain seeing Hands Up and recommending it to a colleague.

Red Door Founders, Kevin Jones and Lesli Mones. met with Portland law enforcement professionals, and a relationship began to take shape. The Red Door creative team and staff were invited to a day at the Bureau to go through a publicly offered training on the day in the life of an officer.

A number of stories about the lived experience of police revealed themselves as an important part in the complex relationship between police and civilians in communities of color. The Red Door hired playwrights from across the country to interview officers, which resulted in the presentation of Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue.

The Evolve ExperienceThe Evolve Experience

“Through the telling and hearing of stories, we can understand and perhaps even appreciate the similarities in who we are,” said Director and Artistic Director Kevin Jones. “We don’t have to like or even agree with what we hear, but through our common humanity we will build the world we want to live in and that begins with listening.”

Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments premiered in 2016 commissioned by The New Black Fest in the wake of police shootings of Mike Brown in Ferguson and John Crawford III in Beavercreek among others. Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue premiered in 2018 and reflects the personal and professional experiences of police officers. The Evolve Experience includes monologues from both Hands Up and Cop Out.

The August Wilson Red Door Project’s mission is to change racial ecology through the arts and envisions a Portland where people from diverse racial backgrounds and experiences live, work, play, and create together, and all people have the confidence, capacity, and opportunity to fulfill their highest human potential.

Kevin Jones is the principal conjurer and co-creator of The August Wilson Red Door Project. He is an award-winning actor and director who has performed on the American stage for more than 30 years. Kevin is also a communication, organizational and diversity consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with private and non-profit organizations. His approach utilizes complex systems thinking, cognitive mechanics and organizational change theory.

The Evolve Experience will run from May 18 through May 19, 2019 at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center located at 5340 N Interstate Ave. Additional shows will run May 23 through May 25, 2019. The event organizers suggest a donation of $20 per person. Event times are as follows:

The May 18 performance begins at 7:30 p.m. The May 19 performance begins at 2 p.m. The May 23 and 24 performances are at 7:30 p.m. And the May 25 performance is at 2 p.m. 

Purchase tickets online here.

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