As a theatre educator, I am asking myself a lot of questions right now. This is a time for deep introspection and hard truths. It is a time to challenge systems of oppression in all forms and to work for justice and equality. This is a time to assess white privilege and to define what is meant by anti-racist. It is a time for painful learning. It is a time for change. It is a time for transformation. It is a time for truth. I am asking myself where I have been complicit in perpetuating the status quo. I am looking in the mirror to see my own unrecognized biases. I am seeking to educate myself so that I can be a positive example for my students.
As a Theatre on Purpose practitioner, I have been committed to giving students a voice through the arts. I have always believed that theatre is transformative because it offers students both a window and a mirror to see the world. Theatre is a window through which we can see others and thereby grow in understanding, empathy and knowledge. Theatre is a mirror because it allows us to see ourselves and reflect on our own reality, motivations and actions.
Arthur Miller said, "I regard theater as a serious business, one that makes or should make man more human, which is to say, less alone." I have always been moved by this quote. I agree, theatre is serious business. As a theatre educator and practitioner I can make a difference by exposing my students to diverse cultures and experiences while delving into the historic contexts across time and place.
In IB Theatre, the aim is to "develop internationally minded people who, recognizing common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world." I embrace this philosophy but am asking how it can go further.
Language and words matter. Here is my pledge:As a theatre educator,
I pledge to listen more.
I pledge to educate myself on race, white privilege and oppression.
I pledge to pay more attention to the stories we tell on stage and the plays we read in class.
I pledge to offer my students the opportunity to use their voices to make our world a
a better place.
I pledge to maintain a theatre program that is a safe, judgement-free space for students to
I pledge to engage students in meaningful, impactful, purpose-driven artistic projects that
directly tackle difficult topics about race, identity, Anti-Semitism, harassment,
I pledge to maintain a spirit of goodwill.
I pledge to resolve conflict.
I pledge not to use violence in thought, word or deed.
I pledge to work with others to build a world that is more loving, compassionate and just.
I pledge to seek first to understand.
I pledge to be more courageous.
I pledge to use theatre on purpose.
Theatre on Purpose - Now more than ever.