Identity Awareness in Casting When Trans Actors Play Roles Outside Their Gender Identity

Main Article Content

Matthias Bolon


Autonomy in choosing is a powerful source of human contentment, and performer consent is essential in producing the best experience for the actor and the audience (McCloskey, 1990). This Note from the Field reflects upon practical consent-based tools for performance and communication that supported me, as a transgender (“trans”) masculine student actor, in confidently playing a classic feminine role for my university’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I offer my experience in order to provide practical recommendations regarding: building a support system; optimizing communication; implementing apologies; using self-care cues; separating the actor and character (entrance and spring-boarding gestures, closure routines); creating individual and group closure practices; undertaking structured pre- and post-rehearsal check-ins; and giving compliments. Consistent application of such consent-based performance practices substantially improved my theatrical experience as a trans actor, and I anticipate that similar practices will benefit the journeys of other trans actors, their cisgender peers, members of production teams, and faculty. 

Article Details

Notes from the Field
Author Biography

Matthias Bolon

Matthias Bolon (he/they) is a Master's student in Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

He received his BA in Theatre May 2022.