What We're Reading: January 2021
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
By Sherie M. Randolph
This biography by Sherie M. Randolph is making the rounds in our EAI board & staff group, and we're looking forward to discussing the book together! Florynce "Flo" Kennedy was an activist, organizer, lawyer, and leader of the feminist and Black Power movements, and brought lessons of Black Power to white feminism to build bridges in the struggles against racism and sexism.
By Michael J. Bobbitt
"Predominantly white institutions exist for one main reason: racism. However you view it—whether it’s explicit, implicit, or complicit—the reason they are predominantly white is the same: racism. If this is an uncomfortable realization, embrace the discomfort and use it to make change. Change requires confession, redesign, investigation, reflection, and the pursuit of growth."
Michael J. Bobbitt asserts that initiatives must be coupled with actual cultural changes within organizations. Bobbitt calls for theaters to change their culture along with their policies, which works together to ensure that racism within that organization cannot exist. In order to make this change happen, every person, at all levels of the organization, must be active participants in shifting this culture.
A Webinar from TheatreArtLife
In this webinar, Peter Royston shares his experience and journey as a stage manager with Cerebral Palsy, and offers thoughts about ways the industry can be more accessible and inclusive. Royston also points out that access is not just about physical access, but also includes access to opportunities.
By Sabine Decatur and Taylor Lamb
"Is it that we think that’s “not our fight” and we need to focus on what is? If so, that’s where we’re wrong: It is our fight. The theatre industry is made up of human beings. Black people, who have fears of the police, and people of all races, who are worried about their friends. The American theatre is not separate from the rest of the world. We are the world!"
Decatur and Lamb call on theater workers to look beyond just pushing for an anti-racist theater, but to concern themselves with the fight for a liberated world. Theater is not removed from the communities in which it exists. They offer the suggestion to think of theater artists as cultural workers, and to measure the success of a show not by ticket sales and money, but rather by the impact on the communities affected by the issues represented on stage.
By Porsche McGovern
"Space needs to be made for designers to not just be guests passing through but to be a part of the heart of a theatre."
In the 6th year of the study, McGovern's findings show the increase in designers who use "she/her" pronouns as a result in the increase of theaters hiring designers who identify as she/her. McGovern also points out that a move towards equity in the field requires not just hiring, but also supporting designers, and ending inequitable practices that have driven designers out of the field.