Evanston resident Tania Richard is an actor, writer and co-creator of the podcast “Race Bait”. She will be featured at the Chicago Podcast Festival in October with her co-host Paul Traynor of Wilmette. She grew up in Western Springs and has lived in Evanston for 12 years.

Q: How did you get involved in the podcast festival?

A: I’ve known the producer for more than 20 years. About one year ago (when the festival started) was right about the time I was getting interested in the medium.

I have a blog and I wrote a post called “Think before you share that video.” He followed the link and listened to a few podcast episodes and invited us to be a part of it.

Q: What issues surrounding race do you specifically plan to address at the festival?

A: We’re keeping it under wraps. But we have chosen topics I think that have had cultural importance. Most people who attend will have some sort of experience and be able to relate to it. It’s something that’s been in the cultural zeitgeist for some time. Now, let’s unpack it and break it down.

Q: How do you feel about participating in the festival?

A: I’m so excited. My co-host Paul and I have actually had our eyes on having a live show. It’s been a goal for us. The idea that we have someone on board who is producing it for us, it’s more than we could have imagined. We’re thrilled.

Q: Why did you move to Evanston?

A: My husband, Bill, is a longtime Evanstonian.

Q: Has Evanston influenced your performance?

A: Absolutely. Part of our mission is to address the local and the national. Seminar Day at New Trier High School, that’s a recurring topic of ours. We also draw the bridge between that and what’s going on nationally. We talk a lot about equity at the Evanston Public Library and the importance for the community. We talk about red lining and fair housing. We’re able to hit a lot of important stuff.

Q: Who is your target audience?

A: There are people who really come to the podcast to learn because they are open to having their minds open. We’ve also heard from a lot of people who are getting affirmation.

It’s exciting. It’s always interesting. We want people to feel like they’re part of the conversation and no one’s above them.

Q: What are your future goals?

A: I’m working on a play for Piven Theatre in Evanston. It’s right now called “The Evanston Project”. That’s something they’ve commissioned me to write. It discusses the two sides of Green Bay Road and the creation of the 5th Ward.

I’m also doing a lot of equity, diversity and inclusion training and consulting for various theaters and schools in the Chicago area.

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