LINCOLN, NEB.: Nebraska Repertory Theatre and St. Louis Black Repertory Company have announced a two-year partnership aimed at bringing about positive social change. The Black Rep producing director Ron Himes will serve as a consultant for the collaboration, which will begin with virtual events on Oct. 2 and Nov. 6 and feature Black Rep performances as well as conversations with actors, scholars, activists, and audience members hosted by leaders of the two companies.
“This collaboration with Nebraska Rep and the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film is consistent with our mission to heighten the social, cultural, and educational awareness of our audiences,” Himes said in a statement. “Our company was cast in the spirit of the Black Arts Movement, and our work has always addressed issues of social justice and disenfranchisement of the BIPOC communities in America, then and now.”
As part of the partnership, Himes will coordinate and plan three events associated with Nebraska Rep’s #RealChange racial justice initiative, working with Nebraska Rep’s executive director Christina Kirk and artistic director Andy Park. A joint production, directed by Himes, is set to be staged in Lincoln in fall 2021, with the collaboration between the companies culminating in a special event in spring 2022. Himes will also serves as a liaison to a task force made up of students, faculty, and alumni who are charged with helping to guide and shape the scope of the initiative’s focus of “identifying systemic racism within the school and Nebraska Rep and creating an anti-racism action plan to foster learning, growth, and real change.” Nebraska Rep sought this partnership in response to the national conversation about systemic racism.
“The Nebraska Repertory Theatre has chosen to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement and engage in the current national conversation about systemic racism,” Kirk said in a statement. “We have been horrified and outraged by the events unfolding in our country. It is a call to action for our theatre community. Now more than ever, we need to be collaborating across campus and with community support groups, and other local and national arts organizations, to seek ways to help each other in these efforts.”
Added Himes in a statement: “These are very trying times and we are dealing with two crises, the epidemic of racism and the pandemic of COVID-19. We will survive COVID-19, but overcoming the racism we have been fighting since 1619 will take all of us working together. When we do, we will be stronger for the planning and the hard work we’re about to do to level the playing field and to prepare a brighter future for generations to come.”
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