When Amanda Gorman spoke these words at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, she inspired hopefulness and a preview of great possibility. As our country strives to embody that vision, many of us theatre people are still surveying the damage, trying to balance our hope with our current reality: there is much rehabilitation to be done, and yet returning to our previous perception of “normalcy” is no longer possible. Before us there is the work of healing, and there is opportunity for action, to redesign our systems as we recover them.
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
-Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate, 2021 Inaugural Poem
Join us for our second Virtual Conference, Our Theatre Ecology, in two parts: May 13-14 and May 20-21, 2021. Inspired by our new mission to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology, we'll engage in a systems check, focusing on three converging areas: PANDEMIC RECOVERY, CLIMATE ACTION and SYSTEMIC ANTI-RACISM, while centering the needs and experiences of BIPOC in the theatre field. As we celebrate our 60th Anniversary amidst this tumultuous year, ongoing crises are cracking open new possibilities for sweeping, positive change.
Part 1 will focus on knowledge-building and awareness-raising in these areas through various learning and connection opportunities, investigating together where our models have failed or saved us. For Part 2, we’ll build on that experience to gather tools toward identifying levers for change, making fundamental shifts in our practices, and sustaining large-scale transformation individually, institutionally, and as a theatre movement.