More than 500 theatres across the U.S. are taking part in the Ghostlight Project to affirm their commitment to “diversity and inclusion” January 19. The initiative launches on the eve of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration.
At 5:30 PM in each U.S. time zone on Thursday, theatre artists will gather outside their theatres to “create a ‘light‘ for dark times ahead, and to make, or renew, a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Activities will be decided by the participants at each site.
There will be nearly 50 gathering sites in New York City alone, including the red steps above the TKTS discount ticket booth in Times Square, the National Black Theatre in Harlem, the Public Theater in Greenwich Village, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Brooklyn.
Participating theatres and theatre programs include the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, American Repertory Theatre in Boston, Signature Theater in New York, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth, Seattle Repertory Theater, and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Click here to see a full list of participating theatres around the U.S.
The January 19 effort is intended as a launching point for “an ongoing commitment to social justice in the coming years, for individual artists and institutions” to be defined by each theatre and community. The organization’s website suggests a variety of strategies, from community organizing and outreach to explicit political action.
The movement’s website lists organizers, including playwrights Moises Kaufman, Henry David Hwang, and Lisa Kron; composer Jeanine Tesori, director and playwright Tina Landau, plus Claudia Alick, Saheem Ali, Daniel Beaty, Alexandra Billings, Sammi Cannold, P. Carl, Rachel Chavkin, Lear deBessonet, Sarah Flamm, Rachel Hauck, Christine Jones, Mia Katigbak, Jenny Koons, Lisa Kron, Lorin Latarro, Zhailon Livingston, Rebecca Martinez, Jennifer McGrath, Okieriete Onaodowan, Lisa Peterson, Sam Pinkleton, Clint Ramos, Randy Reyes, Leigh Silverman, Kristyn Smith, Liesl Tommy, Stephanie Ybarra, and David Zinn.
The initiative takes its name from the light that is traditionally placed on the stage of every theatre after the show is over and through the night. It is there partly for safety and partly as a nod to ghostly theatrical superstition.
(Updated January 19, 2017)