An Enduring Theatrical Contribution to Black Lives Matter
It was while attending a workshop in Chicago at Steppenwolf in 2000 that I took pot luck with a show at the Goodman theatre. It was August Wilson’s ‘King Hedley II’. To my shame, I had never heard of August Wilson until that evening, but I was so impressed by the show that I looked out for his work whenever performed thereafter; and have had the immense privilege of seeing most of his cycle of ten plays which describe the experience of African Americans across ten decades:
I found each play I saw to be on a par with Eugene O’Neil (my summit of praise!) but with the added quality of the entire cycle being more than the sum of its parts. It is a unique cultural contribution unmatched by any other playwright of the 20th or 21st century and, to my mind, of momentous historic importance.
To my astonishment, my ignorance of August Wilson in 2000 is matched today in the UK by that of virtually everybody I know outside the theatre community despite the fact he has had two Pulitzers and a theatre on Broadway named in his honour. My personal ambition was one day (when I had the funds!) to produce the entire cycle (a bit like Wagner’s ring cycle) so that the world could properly appreciate the immensity of August Wilson’s achievement.
The Black Lives Matter movement has made me re-think my personal ambition and realise now is the time for a social and cultural mission on a much larger scale, which recognises and promotes an extraordinary black playwright, employs black actors on a permanent basis and contributes an enduring theatrical contribution to Black Lives Matter (BLM) by acknowledging the genius of black theatre.
I am proposing that there should be a BLM Theatre Company (BLMTC) on a par with (and exceeding!) the mission of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
For such a dream to become reality, it has to kick start on a scale which is equal to the project. I have therefore mailed the most talented, outstanding and celebrated actors/directors/writers to see if there is sufficient support to get this up and running by inviting them to become Founding Members of the BLM Theatre Company.
At present, I am the sole director of the BLM Theatre Company. I will do only three things until a proper Board is elected to oversee the company and its mission.
I will be subject to election like any other Founding Member, and if not elected will ensure that I appoint the full Board before resigning (and offering to serve the Board in any other capacity the Board may determine).
If you are interested in supporting the BLM Theatre Company, please let me know at email@example.com .