Arundhati Roy proclaimed that “the pandemic is a portal.” That call to action invites us to reflect on the past, celebrate our accomplishments, reckon with our shortcomings and create a better future. Our 2019–20 “HERoic” season was a thrilling community celebration of women and gender equity. Thank you for joining us on that adventure, and we will continue to advocate for anti-racist, anti-sexist and gender inclusive practices.
After moving classes online in March, life changed rapidly for ISU Theatre — no rehearsals to attend, no shows to perform and no audiences to greet — but the heart and soul of the theatre still thrived. Our students, faculty and staff transformed their lives to accommodate online learning and exercised their creativity through heartfelt, beautiful and sometimes hilarious virtual projects. We fortified our community with one-on-one outreach and Zoom hangouts. We began reimagining our next season to ensure access to stories that heal, inspire and entertain. We even responded to COVID-19 directly as our incredible ISU Theatre costume shop staff and students constructed more than 600 masks for hospitals around the country. We demonstrated our citizen artistry by continuing to prioritize an environment of equity, diversity, inclusion and justice that advocates for all.
ISU Theatre realizes that now more than ever, we must rely on our mission statement: “to empower citizen artistry by engaging students and the community in transformative theatre and performing arts experiences which examine the human condition, encourage lifelong learning, teach artistic skills, prepare professionals, inspire empathy, explore creativity, build relationships and embrace diversity.”
As Citizen Artists, we are called to hold a mirror up to society and then reckon and respond. The events of 2020 laid bare our nation’s centuries’ old virus of systemic racism. ISU Theatre unequivocally condemns white supremacy and acts of violence, discrimination or intimidation of any kind against people of color, women, people with disabilities or members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We acknowledge the privilege that the majority of our community enjoys. We recognize that we have sometimes failed in the past and that we likely fall short in the future. But we commit to listen more fully, respond more intently and strive to do better tomorrow than we did today in dismantling racism, sexism and homophobia, and advocating for equity and justice in our own practices and society.
This moment is an invitation to not only reimagine theatre, but all of humanity! We invite you to join us on this exhilarating and vital journey through the portal. “The Great Work Begins!”
Director of ISU Theatre