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Merrimack Rep Names Free Soil First Company in Residence

Free Soil Arts Collective’s founder Christa Brown will join the MRT artistic staff.

LOWELL, MASS.: Merrimack Repertory Theatre has announced that, after a yearlong collaboration, Free Soil Arts Collective will officially become MRT’s first company in residence. Free Soil, Lowell’s only Black-owned theatre company, presented the original play Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage at MRT in 2019.

“I am beyond excited to have founder Christa Brown and Free Soil partner with us in this bold endeavor,” said Courtney Sale, the Nancy L. Donahue artistic director, in a statement. “We have so much to learn from their artistry and engagement. The winner in this ‘coming together’ is the people of the greater Lowell region. What folks will feel is a solidarity of arts leaders focused on strikingly original work, an everlasting focus on equity and generous care for our beloved community.”

Christa Brown.

This partnership will include Free Soil’s Brown joining the MRT artistic staff and participating in season planning, casting, initiatives for emerging leaders, and equity and anti-racist work within the organization. As the company in residence, Free Soil will receive rehearsal, performance, and office space, and the companies will work together in community engagement efforts around the programming for both groups.

“We are honored to be the first company in residence at MRT,” said Brown in a statement. “This partnership directly supports Free Soil’s mission to amplify and strengthen the voices of artists of color. We look forward to working side by side with MRT as we glean nonprofit best practices, knowledge sharing, and support their efforts toward becoming an anti-racist organization.”

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ADV – Billboard