Last week we announced that an Artist Town Hall had been set, coordinated by the 12 TCG Member Theatres of North Texas: Amphibian Stage Productions, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Cara Mia Theatre Co., Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theater, Second Thought Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Stage West, Theatre Britain, Undermain Theatre, and WaterTower Theatre.
That event is 8-10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at Arts Mission Oak Cliff, 410 S. Windomere Ave., Dallas. It is free, but space is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To help us gauge interest in attendance, please RSVP on the Facebook event page here.
We realize that the tone of this town hall will change following this week's news, but we want to keep the focus as it was originally intended. Laura T. Fisher, who is the originator and coordinator of the Chicago Theatre Standards that formed around the 2016 Chicago Reader exposé on Profiles Theatre, will discuss how the Chicago community reacted and came together to create a code of standards for their community. We will discuss how DFW can do the same for ours.
“My work with the Chicago Theatre Standards is rooted in the belief that institutions (educational and artistic) hold one of the major keys to addressing unsafe conditions in the arts," Fisher recently wrote. "The question was posed in our post-Town Hall debriefing: is there a way to make this work for both artists and institutions? I believe the answer is not just 'yes,' but that institutions that foster safe and equitable environments have the most to gain. It may require difficult cultural shifts including denying work to known/repeat abusers, disallowing turning-a-blind-eye to harassment or systemically 'believing' or enabling those with fame/power over those without. The opportunity is to institutionally embody the belief that talent is not scarce; it is vast. It lives equally in all human presentations of gender and race; and it is defiled by abuse and harassment. Talent does not express itself in abuse; ambition, power, privilege, supremacy and generations of abuse does. To believe otherwise is a toxic conflation that deprives our craft, our institutions and our audiences of our best artists, our best work and our best selves. Most certainly: others’ bodies should never be a fringe-benefit of talent or power."
After Fisher's talk, Joanie Schultz of WaterTower Theatre will moderate a town hall forum about how we can affect positive change and begin a plan of action here. There will be light refreshments, and security. The space has limited parking, and is in a residential neighborhood, but when the parking lot at AMOC fills up, there will be additional parking at the church across the street.
If you can't make that event, or if you can, there are two similar conversations to put on your 2018 calendar. Denise Lee, who started an important series called Community Conversations in 2016 after the incident in downtown in which police officers were shot after a peaceful protest, will begin her series in 2018 with conversations about sexual harassment. We will have more info about these events later, but for now, we can give you the dates:
- 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 at the Dallas Children's Theater (Facebook event is here)
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth
Please join us for any or all of these important conversations, and except more of them throughout the community in 2018.