As a theatre company that is dedicated to producing the works of William Shakespeare, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre recognizes the primal importance of words. Today we are surrounded by words of incredible power and importance.
Black Lives Matter. No justice no peace. I can’t breathe.
We at AST believe that Black Lives Matter, and we are shocked and saddened by the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other people of color who have been senselessly killed. We are also moved by the bravery, tenacity, and wisdom of the many who are speaking out, protesting, and forcing all of us to hear their words of truth. They are our artists, our neighbors, and our friends, and we stand with them in the fight against systemic racism and for justice.
We also know that we must do better. We recognize the need for accountability in the theatre, and more conscious inclusion practices. We must begin to ask ourselves very difficult questions, reflect on how we’ve contributed to the problem, and consider what we can do moving forward to truly serve all members of our community on stage and off. We vow to use our voices, our words, our actions, and our artistry to fight for social change and against prejudice, bias, and racism in our institutions, in individuals, in ourselves, and anywhere we see it.
These are just words, but Hamlet reminds us, we must “suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”