If the global pandemic has spotlighted the best of our society, it has also glaringly exhibited the fault lines of injustice that are all too prevalent. Soulpepper is a community of diverse artists, audiences and staff. We stand in solidarity with the Black members of our community, the Black Lives Matter movement, and echo the calls for justice.
We join our peer cultural institutions around the globe in recognizing the role we play in telling vital stories that connect us all. Societal cultural change is necessary, and companies like ours must play a role in taking action in dismantling the systems of oppression. In this moment we have been reflecting on the ways we have been complicit in these systems. It wasn't until ten years into our twenty-year history that we produced a play by a Black writer, and since then we have only produced four more. That is the truth, and the truth is the first step towards change. It wasn't until last year that we produced an Indigenous-led and written production. That is the truth, and the truth is the first step towards change. We recommit to representation from these communities on our stages, in our auditoriums, and with our staff; to creating a welcoming, safe, and supportive space for all; and to invest in the future of the incredible Black artists who move and provoke us.
"It’s a gamble, Jasmine. All the time. You send your young man out into the world every day, or away for a weekend. A semester. A school year. But you don’t know...you have no idea if they’re safe. You have no idea if one day someone will try to expire them because they are too young. Or too black. Or too threatening. Or too loud. Or too uninformed. Or too angry. Or too quiet. Or too everyday. Or too cool. Or too uncomposed. Or too mysterious. Or just too TOO. You don’t know, Jasmine. And it’s frightening. It leaves a tremble in your heart on a daily. And if someone could ease that tremble by unveiling just a little piece of the puzzle.....it would mean everything."
Nya, from Pipeline, by Dominque Morriseau
Planned as part of Soulpepper's 2021 Season
“This is why I believe so deeply in storytelling; we can create narratives that counteract the violent messaging that being Black means you are not valued or loved.”
On June 5, Artistic Director, Weyni Mengesha, shared her personal experiences while reflecting on the necessary systemic change required to ignite justice within our organization and communities.