A Statement from ZACH Theatre

Breathe.

One of the fundamental building blocks in acting is the development of your breath – how to align yourself to focus and relax, choosing where to leave a breath for emphasis in a play text, and as a tool to lift and sustain your voice. But what happens to the person who gets up each day feeling that they can’t breathe because the weight of racial discrimination and oppression is kneeling on their neck. Your voice goes unheard.

“I can’t breathe.”

What is happening in America today is happening here in Austin. This much needed conversation and fight for equality is one we are committed to participate in fully. This is an important moment to listen, learn and act toward meaningful change. We must be vigilant in the fight against racism, especially in the unspoken and systematic ways we are contributing to perpetuate an unfair system, and we are committed to the critical work that lies ahead. We recognize this is a marathon, and not a sprint, and it will require devoted attention from all of us at ZACH on an on-going basis.

At ZACH we have a long history of producing Black Art with Black artists and that commitment will remain unwavering in the future. While our stage remains dark, we are grateful to Anna Deavere Smith for her permission to stream our production of her extraordinary, revelatory play Notes From The Field for free now through Sunday, June 14. Her powerful play explores the individuals caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline in a racially divided nation, as they navigate inequities in their communities. The play begins with the death of Freddie Gray, that tragically mirrors the devastating murder of George Floyd. We will offer two Community Conversations to encourage personal accountability, taking action, and sharing how we can all make positive change in racial inequity in Austin, and our country. Conversations will be held virtually through Zoom and will take place Thursday, June 11 at 6 p.m., and Sunday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m.

In this societal tipping point; we will promote a dialogue that is inclusive. We believe theatre is a place where all liberties are possible for all people. We believe theatre offers an avenue for self-examination, an arena in which we are challenged to understand our own lives and responsibilities, and the world in which we live.  ZACH commits to take the necessary steps for all artists to participate fully in the artistic process. To our Black artists, staff, colleagues, friends, neighbors, volunteers and patrons, we see you, we hear you and we stand with you.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.