To our supporters, friends, colleagues, and champions,
After discussion with our board and taking some time for introspection, we want to be clear that while the theatres are closed for the foreseeable future we will be taking the coming months to read, educate ourselves, unlearn and learn, and dedicate time to being sure that when we open our doors again we can do so with confidence that we have practices and policies in place to provide a safe space for IBPOC, LGBTQ, and all members of our community. We are committed to doing good work with good people, to providing opportunities for emerging artists, but also to being and doing better ourselves.
We created hapax theatre to be a safe harbour for ourselves and for others. We hold ourselves to a standard of complete transparency and accountability and will continue to do so as we move forward.
With the support of our board we will be creating a 5 year strategic plan that includes a focus on diversity and equality. We will be looking to expand our board and the roles within the organization. And that’s going to be tricky. Currently we’re an organization of 1.5 people and that’s a lot of work to do for 1.5 people so we’ll be periodically asking members of our community for help. If you feel you could be a resource and would like to assist us, please let us know. We’ll need to learn how to restructure our finances, be better grant writers, learn how to use our voices when needed and when to be a platform for other voices. We acknowledge that we need to learn more about the systemic barriers that keep IBPOC artists from engaging/participating with hapax theatre and the Victoria theatre community at large.
hapax theatre has always been a company that exists because of the passion of our team but we recognize that that’s not a good enough reason to produce work. We recognize now that we’ve created space for ourselves that may have taken from others. We will work to do better and be better at lifting voices, providing platforms, and continuing our commitment to excellent storytelling and making magic happen again.
We recognize that we are just a very small company in a city that is full of thriving artists and organizations, but we challenge other companies to take this time of quiet in the theatre and outcry in the streets to look at how they’re currently spending their time. We understand that companies larger than ours need to come up with plans a-z to be prepared for every eventuality of when we are allowed to gather safely once again, but could that time be better spent on bettering yourselves? We know that the future of the arts will be beautiful. The arts are what have saved society time and again through economic disasters, through civil unrest, through periods of uncertainty and fear. We know, as artists, that times will be hard and we will come out the other side to lift our community around us. So let’s use this time to change what our arts community looks like after this dark time is over. We can’t and won’t return to what it was before. And any desire to do so is deeply problematic. We know that Black and Indigenous artists are underrepresented and have experienced pain and trauma within our institutions. We will not return to that. So let’s make the commitment to be ready when the time comes to open our doors with policies and practices, with new understanding, with humility and grace, and just be better.
In the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests we’ve seen “We understand that we will never understand, but we will stand with you” on signs and social media pages everywhere. We’d like to take inspiration from that and tweak it. “We understand that we will never understand, but we will learn from you.”
Now, as always, with love and thanks,
Heather, Chad, & the hapax theatre board