Response to Charlottesville

(August 14, 2017—New York, NY)
Following the domestic terrorism led by white supremacists that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend, SDC Members went to work in rehearsal halls, classrooms, and theatres in every community across the country. The Union condemns these acts of violence, hatred, and bigotry, and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. In this moment, we remind our Members that the Union and its Membership have a great deal of influence, responsibility, and decision-making power. In the creative enterprise of making theatre, we can use our art to reflect the great diversity of our nation and advocate for the respect and appreciation of all differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, ability, sexual orientation and identity, education, and religion.

In Solidarity,

Pam MacKinnon

Michael John Garces
Diversity and Inclusion
Committee Co-Chair

Seret Scott
Diversity and Inclusion
Committee Co-Chair

4 Responses

  1. Julie Hamberg

    As a member of the Charlottesville community & the SDC, I’d like to deeply thank everyone for your support and action. It was healing to see this expression of solidarity and passion in my inbox. Charlottesville is every town, of course. I so look forward to the response to this past weekend in your town. What transformation will come from such hate? My fellow artists, you will show us the ways.

    • Lisa Portes

      Hi, Julie:

      My name is Lisa Portes and I’m proud to serve on the SDC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. The members of your SDC community support you and all who experience the effects of hate and stand against it. As directors and choreographers, we are leaders in our field, and I,like you, am inspired by our union’s reminder to all of us of our ability to take action in our art and in our activism. Thank you for your challenge to us all to seek to transform our communities. If there is anything specific you need to support healing and/or action in Charlottesville that you believe SDC can provide, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally at or to our fearless executive director, Laura Penn at (800) 541-5204 or (212) 391-1070.

      Yours in solidarity,

    • Sharon Ott

      Hello Julie- I am your SDC Regional Rep, and have just moved to Richmond, VA to assume the Chair position at VCU. Of course, we are already a big part of the national discussion here with the ongoing city debate about the statues on Monument Avenue. I’ve spent my lifetime in the theater often in the center of discussions of culture and history and look forward to being a part of a collective response to what happened in your beautiful city. I look forward to meeting you and continuing this discussion.


      Sharon Ott
      SE Regional Representative
      SDC Executive Board

  2. Allison NArver

    As the horrific events unfolded over the weekend I was reminded, once again, why our work matters. Our best work can be a response to the worst events; it brings out our strengths and our weaknesses — our idiosyncrasies, our fears and our most vulnerable selves can result in something deeper, more urgent and more powerful.

    Sometimes when events like those of the last week break our hearts, theater can feel impotent or passive However, when our work is at its best, it is, in and of itself a powerful act of non-violent resistance. – it’s a mirror we hold up to the world, a cry in the night, a broken heart laid bare, an x-ray of base hypocrisy and corruption and ultimately, a transgressive insistence on beauty, no matter what shape it takes.

    When we take to the streets to protest, we do so with obduracy, rage, tenacity and sometimes a hilarity and transgressive joy. Right now, I need to remind myself to bring that same stubborn and optimistic energy into every part of my work. It’s easy to forget that, as directors, we’ve got some super-powers in our back pockets that we probably take for granted. What we bring to work with us every day is powerful; imagination, tenacity and a bull-headed belief that we can re-imagine our world or create new and astounding ones.

    If I didn’t, in some elemental and stubborn way, believe that theater can change the world, I wouldn’t still be doing it. This doesn’t mean we all need to rush out and do Agit-Prop theater but rather remember that, as engaged citizens, we can create work that makes space for difficult conversations that can ultimately become a catalyst and clarion call for change in the world.

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