Playwright Jeremy O. Harris‘announced that his Tony-nominated hit Slave Play will hit the West Coast again next year as part of the Center Theater Group’s new season.
Earlier this month, the Tony-nominated playwright removed the play from the season, citing a series of plays that were overwhelmingly composed of men.
Harris posted the news on Twitter earlier that evening, explaining that he had reached an agreement with CTG management on their agreement to a number of terms Harris has set out to promote fairness and diversity within the institution in the future.
Read his thread here:
So after 1 1/2 weeks of Zooms and
phone calls with the artistic team of @CTGLA as well as my team on Slave Play, members of the LA community, several female mentors, I am delighted to say that @SlavePlayBway will remain on the season for 2022.
This came after several engagements listed below. https://t.co/pOcOHYWf1U
I want to make it very clear that until 4pm today I was VERY ready to stand by my decision to leave CTG if the staff did not come back ready for a tangible change as they had said.
Many of my hopes for the theater and its future have come true:
I hope that this engagement, this reframing and this dialogue with the artists can serve as a model / call to action for other theaters and artists in our country.
The decision to take my show off wasn’t easy, especially knowing that LA is, in a sense, a homecoming for me.
It’s not a perfect fit for a flawed problem. I am very aware. Yet with the recognition of the work we have been engaged in since 2019 on this matter, the hopes that the play will reach communities outside of New York City, and the recognition that losing a black gay voice in Los Angeles also sucks. , I can take it.
âAs a playwright committed to the principles of inclusion, it was a shock to realize that this season was scheduled with one woman in all theaters,â Harris writes. “As Angeleno and theater lover, I think Los Angeles audiences deserve a fair representation of the playwrights working in America right now.”
The management of the Center Theater Group responded to Harris’ withdrawal with the following statement:
âBy assembling the next seasons Taper and Douglas of the Center Theater Group, we have first honored our commitments to many shows that have been disrupted by the pandemic over the past two years. Some of those commitments include plays by women who have been scheduled for next season due to artist availability but not yet announced. We understand the frustration, disappointment and even anger at the scarcity of female playwrights in the coming season. announced programming that features voices from many perspectives and identities, we recognize that we have fallen short of our own expectations and those of our community when it comes to gender equity, and for this we do sorry, we can and will do better.
We want to reassure our community that we remain intensely focused on our mission to reflect and serve the many communities of Los Angeles. We have already started work on the 2022-2023 seasons which include a commitment to gender equality among playwrights for shows produced by CTG. The opening production already scheduled for the 2022-2023 season at Mark Taper Forum is written by a woman of color.
We’ve made that commitment to fairness in other aspects of our current season as well. The four directors of the Douglas season which has just been announced are female or not binary. Additionally, this year’s Writers Workshop cohort is made up entirely of female-identifying playwrights, all of whom are local to Los Angeles. Of the 16 new plays recently commissioned by the Center Theater Group, 11 are by BIPOC authors and 11 are written by women.
We are grateful to members of our community who support CTG – even through our missteps – as we strive to amplify women’s voices and become more equitable, accessible and representative of all of Los Angeles’ diverse communities. We hope our audience will continue to join us on this journey.
Today we received a notification from the playwright Jeremy O. Harris that he would like to begin the process of removing “Slave Play” from this season in the hopes of making room for more women. We respect Jeremy’s opinion and believe in him as an artist. We hope to continue our relationship with him in the future. We are in the process of regrouping and will be able to tell you more in the coming days on the impact on our coming season.
– Michael ritchie (Artistic Director) and Meghan Pressman (Managing Director / CEO “
Besides the play by Harris’s Slave, which was to arrive at Mark Taper Forum in February, the season currently features The Lehman Trilogy from Stefano Massini, Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleavage, King James by Rajiv joseph, Mike Birbiglia: The old man and the pool, I’ll see you by Jon Robin Baitz, Alma by Benjamin Benne, Tambo & Bones by Dave harris, to T or not to T? A Comedic Trans Journey through (T) estosterone and Masculinity by D’Lo, and The Art Couple by Brendan Hunt.
Center Theater Group, one of the nation’s premier arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ premier non-profit theater company, which, under the direction of the Artistic Director Michael ritchie, Managing Director / CEO Meghan Pressman and Production Manager Douglas C. Baker, program the seasons for 736 places Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600-2,100-seat Ahmanson Theater at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk douglas Theater in Culver City.
In addition to presenting and producing the widest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, the Center Theater Group is a leading producer of ambitious new work in the country through commissioning and world premiere productions and a leader. in interactive community engagement and education programs that cross generations. , demographics and circumstances to serve Los Angeles.