- George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor
- ‘Black Lives Matter’
As a community of artists, we embrace our responsibility to speak out against racism in America.
New Art Theatre supports ‘Social Justice’ for Black America
- Justice in Policing and Incarceration
- Justice in Economic Opportunity
- Justice in Housing and Community Services
- Justice in Access to Health Care
- Justice in Access to Quality Public Education
- Justice in Access to Clean Water, Clean Air and a Healthy Environment
- Justice in Access to the Live Performing Arts
Allow me to share the eloquent words of one of our greatest playwrights, August Wilson. The following speech was delivered on June 26, 1996, at the 11th biennial Theatre Communications Group national conference at Princeton University.
“Some time ago I had an occasion to speak to a group of international playwrights. They had come from all over the world—from Colombia, Chile, from New Guinea, Poland, China, Nigeria, Italy, France, Great Britain. I began my remarks by welcoming them to my country. I didn’t always think of it as my country, but since my ancestors have been here since the early 17th century, I thought it as good a beginning as any. So I say if there are any foreigners here in the audience, welcome to my country.
I have come here today to make a testimony, to talk about the ground on which I stand and all the many grounds on which I and my ancestors have toiled, and the ground of theatre on which my fellow artists and I have labored to bring forth its fruits, its daring and its sometimes lacerating, and often healing, truths.
In one guise, the ground I stand on has been pioneered by the Greek dramatists—by Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles—by William Shakespeare, by Shaw, Ibsen, and Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams. In another guise, the ground that I stand on has been pioneered by my grandfather, by Nat Turner, by Denmark Vesey, by Martin Delany, Marcus Garvey, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. That is the ground of the affirmation of the value of one’s being, an affirmation of his worth in the face of this society’s urgent and sometimes profound denial. It was this ground as a young man coming into manhood searching for something to dedicate my life to that I discovered the Black Power Movement of the ’60s. I felt it a duty and an honor to participate in that historic moment. As a people who had arrived in America chained and malnourished in the hold of a 350-foot Portuguese, Dutch, or English sailing ship, we were now seeking ways to alter our relationship to the society in which we live—and, perhaps more important, searching for ways to alter the shared expectations of ourselves as a community of people.”
With compassion and resolve,
Robert Shea, Artistic Director
New Art Theatre