At Free Street Theater, we are committed to creating performance that reflects the diversity of voices and experiences in our city and that responds to the structural issues that keep us from reaching our fullest range of possibility. Beyond that, we aim to be a community that is welcoming and inclusive, that invites people to join us as they are. As we have noted in a previous statement, “Our company [and our audience] is as diverse as our city. We are multicultural and multigenerational. We are immigrants and descendants of a colonial past that has created repercussions and traumas for generations of our people. We are gay, straight, and pansexual. We are gender non-conforming and gender-fluid. We are cis and transgender. We are each other’s allies… ”
We know that for many, this week’s election ushers in even more uncertainty than we were living with before, and at Free Street we believe we have a firm obligation to use performance to amplify efforts for change. This charge is more urgent now than ever. In the coming months, we invite you to join us in our efforts to use performance as a direct response to the struggles of the people most impacted by the overt racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism we are facing as a country. We believe that we are not alone in wanting a world where we can all be our fullest selves, and if theater can do anything, surely it can help us imagine and create new possibilities for our lives. Here is what we will be doing in the coming months:
-In December, we will kick off a Direct Action Performance Training that will focus on how to use performance tactics to support direct action efforts. This 5-session series will be free and open to the public, though we ask that participants attend all 5 sessions as they will build upon each other to develop skills and strategies. We will be releasing more information, including dates and times, next week.
-Free Street’s Youth Ensemble has already been working on a project that looks at electoral politics from the perspective of people who are not enfranchised to vote. In collaboration with the Hull House Museum and Sites of Conscience, the ensemble has been facilitating dialogues on gender, education and incarceration, focusing on the school-to-prison pipeline and the impact this has on our larger civil rights. Their Spring show, Inauguration, will examine the first 100 days of the new presidency and its impact on youth rights in Chicago.
-Because we recognize that working for social change, and indeed, living under conditions of oppression, is exhausting, we will also be kicking off The Utopia Project, an intergenerational performance and workshop series designed to help us sustain our joy and resilience as we fight for the world we want to live in. If you would like to collaborate with us on this project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, we are available to host meetings, facilitate free performance workshops at your school or organization, and are happy join other organizations in your efforts to build a more just community.