On January 19, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in each time zone across the country, members of the theater community – from Broadway to regional theaters to high schools and colleges and community theaters – came together to launch THE GHOSTLIGHT PROJECT. Gathering outside of theaters on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, people joined in a collective, simultaneous action, together creating ‘light’ for challenging times ahead. Inspired by the tradition of leaving a ‘ghost light’ on in a darkened theater, artists and communities made or renewed a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone–regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
TFMS held a ceremony outside the Bruce Davis Theater to pledge our support and advocacy for vulnerable communities, to be a “brave space,” in the coming years. Following is our statement:
TFMS Statement of Commitment for The Ghostlight Project
We commit to consciously and meaningfully producing pieces that highlight diverse characters, difficult and important themes, and playwrights from underrepresented backgrounds;
We commit to challenging ourselves and the St. Mary’s College Community to have complex and sometimes contentious conversations about our past, our present, and our future;
We pledge to take action when we encounter situations of injustice and to commit to battling words and deeds that create a toxic, fearful environment by nurturing the kind of remarkable intellectual growth, transformation, and creativity of which our students and the St. Mary’s College Community are capable;
We commit to supporting and celebrating people of color, women, lesbians, gay and bisexual people, transgender people, gender non-conforming people, Muslims, Jews, people of all religious beliefs and practices, and atheists or people who doubt, immigrants, refugees, non-English speakers, disabled people, mentally ill people, dissenters, thinkers, artists, scientists, activists, weirdos and nerds;
We commit to making our students’ home and our community a place of tolerance, acceptance, and compassion;
We commit to joy and beauty and dance parties as much as we commit to expressing our rage, grief and frustration;
We commit to listening and learning;
We commit to being held accountable for our choices and hope that you will call us out if you see us wavering from any of our other commitments;
And finally, in the words of Bayard Rustin, “We need in every community a group of angelic troublemakers.” We pledge, as citizens, artists, and scholars, to make all kinds of angelic trouble and to invite all of SMCM and the surrounding community to join us.