The brutal violence committed against the Black community and the increased burden placed on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals as the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have led to a pivotal moment in our history.
In solidarity with the Black community, The Phoenix Theatre Company will host an online showcase of Black artists called UNITE: A Benefit Concert.
“We unequivocally affirm that Black lives matter,” says Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard.“ The violence against Black people must stop. We have a tremendous amount of power and responsibility to lift up the voices of Black artists and to provide a platform for diversity and inclusion. The arts inspire empathy and create change.”
“Black artists bring a tremendous amount of value to the arts in Phoenix. We’re more than just characters on stage. We are members of your community,” says Chanel Bragg, director of UNITE and Phoenix-based performer (most recently in Cabaret at Arizona Theatre Company and Kinky Boots at The Phoenix Theatre Company). “I challenge arts organizations to confront racial biases and to have meaningful dialogues with the Black community. The journey of doing better begins with close self-examination. It will be uncomfortable, and that’s actually a good thing.”
The Phoenix Theatre Company is also committing to changes at the structural level. “In the coming days we are convening a group of staff, board members, and community artists to undertake a new comprehensive strategic planning process,” says Managing Director Vincent VanVleet. “Integral to that process is a re-envisioned equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) program, as well as a deeper commitment to the BIPOC community.”
UNITE: A Benefit Showcase will be streamed live on The Phoenix Theatre Company’s YouTube channel June 26 at 7:00pm. Tickets are available in a pay-what-you-can format at phoenixtheatre.com/unite. To learn more visit www.phoenixtheatre.com/uniteresources.