Art is our Activism is a philosophy that has long informed the programming at Central Square Theater. For decades, both The Nora and Underground Railway have been committed to storytelling that illuminates the social issues of our time. This has never been more important than it is now, and we know that a critical component in this process is accountability and transparency. We acknowledge that, while we have long seen ourselves as working toward social justice, we have been complicit in systems of white supremacy and in order to combat this we must devote ourselves to this work with constant attention, thoughtfulness, and passion for change.
In May 2020, we began the process of reexamining our programming, policies, and organizational values with an anti-racist lens. While some of this work has been visible to the community outside of our staff at public town halls and through our website, much of it has not. Now, we feel it is time to shed light on this process and create an opportunity for dialogue with our partners, patrons, and artists. This blog will be a place to do this and we will provide regular written updates here, in a dedicated section of our website.
We know that by working in partnership with our communities we can move closer and closer to becoming a more just organization, one that is not afraid to take a long, hard look at our work and to grow and change where needed.
In this blog, you will hear different voices from our CST family, from part-time staff to leadership to board members. We ask that you walk with us for a while, and let’s move forward, together.
June 16, 2021 by AJ Helman
We must lean into discomfort to create a more equitable industry, whether that means having difficult conversations or making peace with the larger role social media has in our lives and activism.
May 25, 2021 by David Demosthenes
The word “community engagement” has been tossed around in the media so much it has become just another buzzword. It’s devolved into an abstract agenda item or an ill-defined business outcome. In my opinion, community engagement should not exist just as a “noun”, but as a “verb.” It must involve action.
May 13, 2021 by Anti-Racism Committee
Almost exactly one year ago a national reckoning began with the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests, calls to action, and flurry of anti-racism statements. As an organization that was created at the intersection of social justice and theater, we felt we knew some of this territory, and had walked some of this ground before, but it quickly became clear that what we had been doing was simply not enough. After being challenged both by our own staff and our larger community to examine our participation in white supremacy structures we knew we needed to state our values loud and clear to our artists, audiences, and collaborators. We needed to show them we stand with them and are committed to pursuing change.
May 3, 2021 by Kortney Adams
In June 2020, after the killing of George Floyd and right around Juneteenth, there was a movement within the greater Boston theater community to encourage theaters to take a stand against racism and commit to interrogating their role in perpetuating white supremacy. Like clockwork, theaters large and small began posting statements of solidarity. But, what I was really interested in was how many theater companies would be willing to invest the time and capacity to bring about actual change. And, frankly, I wasn’t sure what real change would even look like.