As the Artistic Director of Theatre on the Ridge, I have been challenged this week. It would have been easier to believe that the large events and anti-racism protests taking place in the greater world are bigger than myself or this small company, that the voices needing to be heard are not needed in the small community that I live and work from. That our own voices, added into the growing collective volume will not make a difference.
And then… my eye is caught by a car racing by. My eye is caught because the car has a large confederate flag conspicuously waving, like a banner from the back of the car, and I realize that no one is exempt and my voice does have a place. This, and so many other realizations acknowledged and not, remind me that there really has never been a choice. It has only been the conscious choice to act and do the hard work myself that has been put off until now.
The mission statement of Theatre on the Ridge states that it sees theatre as a tool to engage, to shift complacency, and to provide growth to its participants. That we support theatre as a place for refraction, reflection, revelation – to inspire a more responsive, responsible community that, through theatre, will realize the value of connections as they gain broader understanding and empathy.
I, and Theatre on the Ridge, remain committed to this mission statement and recognize that we have only been passive, not active in the realization of this mission in all levels of our organization. We acknowledge the necessity of adding our voice to the fight against systemic racism and discrimination in our own community, and elsewhere. We are about to undertake our next strategic planning process and will prioritize strategies and actions that foster and encourage a positive inclusive environment for BIPOC artists and theatre practitioners so that all voices can be welcomed, shared and heard.
Carey Nicholson, Artistic Director/General Manager