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Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE)

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“Hang In There and Be Tough”

3 sessions offered via Zoom May 2, 3 & 4, 2023 | 10 am – 12 pm

  • Tuesday, May 2 (STEM faculty focus*)
  • Wednesday, May 3 (STEM faculty focus*)
  • Thursday, May 4 (Humanities/Social Science faculty focus*)

[Register here]

*Note: any faculty member may attend any of the three sessions. 


Faculty participants will experience an interactive program that includes a live scenario, a Q&A with the characters, and a facilitated discussion. This program will explore the complexity of university and departmental cultures and expectations for what it means to be a member of a university community.

Objective: Stimulate discussion about the following issues:

  • The dynamics of race/gender and the problematic attitudes and behaviors that may make the academic environment challenging for faculty and students
  • The effect of such attitudes and behaviors on individual self-esteem and academic performance
  • Challenges that faculty may face with other faculty, departmental culture, and institutional climate

Maia M’Fume: Doctoral Student
Hal Bindoff: Professor & Maia’s advisor
Synopsis: In this scenario, we meet Maia as she stops by the office of her advisor, Hal, to discuss her experiences in the lab of Professor John Clark, one of Hal’s research partners. During their conversation, Maia reveals her perception that she is experiencing behaviors in John Clark’s lab that are demeaning and problematic. While Hal’s response is supportive in tone, and he intends to help, his suggestion for Maia to “Hang in there and be tough” leaves her feeling unsupported and vulnerable. She is concerned by the seriousness of her dilemma and his hesitancy to take an active role in helping her deal with the situation.

About Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE)
Diversity and inclusion training that facilitates dialogue.

What CITE does 

  • CITE programs create safety around highly charged workplace issues, facilitating honest dialogue, self-awareness and organizational learning on four levels: personal, interpersonal, group and institutional/community.
  • CITE has the unique ability to take concepts of diversity and inclusion and make them real and personal for participant groups. Interactive theatre and facilitated dialogue from multiple points of view create a climate for participants that builds inclusion, fosters collaboration, and gives participants knowledge and tools to take back to their own work environments.
  • All CITE scenarios are multi-dimensional, revealing not only the dynamics of particular diversity issues, but also the dynamics of human interaction around the issues.

How a CITE session works 

Scripted scene:
Each scripted scene performance depicts a complex and challenging interaction in a workplace characterized by diversity.

Improvisatory question and answer period (Q&A):
Each improvised Q&A between the audience and the actors-in-character serves to reveal the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and the motivations behind their actions. It also serves to evoke audience empathy and identification with each of the characters. The complexity of the interaction unfolds during the Q&A.

Facilitated discussion: 
Each facilitated discussion with the audience addresses, to some degree, the importance of:

  • Self-awareness and self-inquiry as tools for employees at all levels
  • Awareness of how our thoughts, emotions, and assumptions influence our perceptions, which in turn influence our behaviors
  • Listening to understand rather than find fault or place blame
  • Attending to both intention and impact when addressing problematic communication and behavior
  • Thinking outside “my own perspective”, and opening to multiple points of view
  • Approaching problem-solving in a manner that maintains the dignity of everyone in a problematic situation