Called #TheatreToo after the #MeToo movement, the issue examines the problems of abuse, harassment, and sexism in the theatre. How have the nation’s large and small theatres allowed these problems to persist, and what are they doing to disrupt and prevent them in the future? How have survivors told their stories and recovered their lives, onstage and off?
When Damage Is Done: Senior editor Diep Tran reports on what happened when three large LORT theatres were rocked in different ways by allegations of harassment or a sexist culture.
Theatre’s Silence Breakers: Profiles of six individuals who came forward to tell their stories and made positive change
Every Time It’s Personal: Texas reporter Katy Lemieux writes about the personal and emotional of breaking a major #MeToo story in her own community.
The online-only package also includes an op-ed about what Actors’ Equity could do to help actors fight back against harassment, an explanation by editor-in-chief Rob Weinert-Kendt of how and why American Theatre put the issue together, and a list of resources for survivors.
“We’re deeply grateful for the brave testimony of the survivors as well as the transparency and cooperation of theatre leaders and workers who contributed their stories,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “This issue is part of a sustained, multi-faceted effort that includes online workshops and in-person organizing to end sexual abuse and misconduct in the theatre. At the board and staff level, we’re committed to continuing this work beyond a single issue or event.”
The issue illustrated with striking images by four female artists from around the world: The cover image is by U.S.-based Sawsan Chalabi, and interior images are by Agata Nowicka (Poland), Thandiwe Tshabalala (South Africa), and Sonia Pulido (Spain).
“When senior editor Diep Tran received a deluge of #MeToo testimonials in response to her call for stories, American Theatre began a process that would change our fundamental approach to reporting on the field,” said Rob Weinert-Kendt, editor-in-chief, American Theatre. “As we build the required capacity for a potential move toward investigative journalism, this issue helps us all learn from the silence-breakers and the theatres committed to changing their cultures.”
Early response to the issue has been encouraging, with some embracing it as a teaching tool: Brian E. Herrera, associate professor of theatre at Princeton University, has required all the students in his fall “Theatre & Society Now” class to read the issue cover to cover, a decision “based on the strength of the content,” Herrera said, “and the example of its intervention.”
Also in the September issue is the complete playscript of Antoinette Nwandu’s harrowing new play Pass Over, prefaced by dramaturg Natasha Sinha’s revealing interview with the playwright; an in-depth look at Everyman Theatre’s production of the Holocaust memory play The Book of Joseph; a Q&A with Moonlight screenwriter and Yale playwriting dean Tarell Alvin McCraney; a critic’s notebook on two groundbreaking new productions of Oklahoma!; a look at a casting controversy at American Players Theatre; a feature on how costume designers choose their own clothing; people to watch; and more.